Radial Tunnel Injections
Radial tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when pressure is placed on the radial nerve in the area of the elbow. The radial nerve runs from the neck through the arm and down to the hand, and the radial tunnel is a pathway for the nerve through the lateral, or outer, portion of the elbow. Radial tunnel syndrome occurs when the radial nerve is squeezed or compressed as it passes through the radial tunnel near the elbow. Symptoms of radial tunnel syndrome may include pain, weakness, and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. This pain tends to get worse when the wrist is bent backward, the palms are turned upward, or the elbow is straightened. People with radial tunnel syndrome may experience chronic pain and discomfort.
Radial tunnel injections are an effective method of treatment for the symptoms of radial tunnel syndrome. A solution containing both a corticosteroid and local anesthetic are injected directly into the radial tunnel. The anesthetic numbs the nerve and eases the pain in the area almost immediately, while the corticosteroid offers more long-term relief of symptoms. Corticosteroids work by diminishing the inflammation that is present, thereby reducing pressure that has been placed on the radial nerve. The injections help to minimize inflammation and as the inflammation decreases, pressure is relieved. As a result, patients experience a decrease in symptoms such as pain, weakness or tingling. Symptoms may subside within a few days and the results of the injection may last for a few weeks or up to a few months. Radial tunnel injections are considered a safe procedure with patients experiencing significant relief of problematic symptoms.