Injury of the Radial Nerve in the Arm: A Review

Cureus. 2018 Feb 16;10(2):e2199. doi: 10.7759/cureus.2199.


Compression of the radial nerve is most commonly described at the supinator muscle (i.e., arcade of Frohse). However, radial nerve compression can occur in the arm. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to review both etiologies of radial nerve entrapment and the sites at which this can occur in the arm. The clinical presentation of radial nerve entrapment in the arm and how it differs from that of entrapment at other sites is reviewed and the conditions potentially predisposing to nerve entrapment are described. Particular attention is paid to the nerve's course and potential variants of the anatomical structures in the arm. In each case, the recommended course of management for the neuropathy is described. Injury of the radial nerve can arise from a varied set of pathologies including trauma, tumors, anomalous muscles, and intramuscular injections. Physicians should have a good working knowledge of the anatomy and potential mechanisms for radial nerve injury.

Keywords: anatomy; brachial plexus; compression; neuropathy; upper limb.

Publication types

  • Review