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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Injuries and Wounds > Radial Nerve Injury
      Category : Health Centers > Brain and Nervous System

Radial Nerve Injury

Alternate Names : Radial Nerve Trauma, Radial Nerve Damage

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

A radial nerve injury involves damage to the radial nerve, which allows sensation and movement in part of the arm. The radial nerve attaches to the skin and muscles of certain areas of the arm, forearm, and hand. It is responsible for muscle movement and sensation in these areas. Someone with an injury to the radial nerve lose function in these areas.

In most cases, the radial nerve is damaged by trauma, repeated use of the nerve, or by the nerve being compressed by other structures. The injury may be permanent.

What are the causes and risks of the injury?

Radial nerve injury can be caused by a number of activities, including:

  • the improper use of crutches, usually when a person rests his or her weight on the armpits rather than the hands
  • hanging the arms over the back of a chair for too long or lying on an arm for too long. This is sometimes called "Saturday night palsy," because it often happens in those who are very drunk or intoxicated.
  • a bone fracture involving the upper arm bone, or humerus
  • Rarely, no cause can be found for the nerve damage. In these cases, the injury may come from certain repeated motions of the arm, known as a repetitive stress injury.

    A radial nerve injury may be permanent, causing lifelong weakness and numbness, and sometimes chronic pain. In some people, the muscles can shrink and cause the arm to become deformed over time. In other people, some or all of the arm's function may be regained over time.


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    Radial Nerve Injury: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: James Broomfield, MD
    Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
    Date Reviewed: 07/01/01

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