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Radial tunnel syndrome

The radial tunnel is a space formed between five anatomical structures at the outside point of the elbow. Movements such as repetitive rotation of the forearm cause constriction of this space which puts pressure on the posterior interosseous nerve, a branch of the radial nerve. Occupations at risk include supermarket checkout cashiers who have to rotate their forearms when passing items through the scanner.

Symptoms may include pain in the elbow and/or forearm, which may feel worse when the middle finger is pressed backwards.

Treatments may include restricting movements of the forearm, splinting, anti-inflammatories, and physiotherapy. As in all RSI-type conditions, some changes will usually need to be made to the activity or process which is causing the pain. If other strategies are not helpful, surgery may be considered.