Radial Nerve Injury

Radial Nerve Injury
July 8, 2016

F1.largeDr. Vikas Gupta a renowned name in the field of Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery, while talking on his treatment of Radial Nerve Injury emphasizes, “when injury to the radial nerve, nerve that runs on the underside of the arm, is damaged due to an injury and causes imparity in movement of wrist and hand, it is termed as Radial Nerve Injury.”

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As the first surgeon in India to perform and introduce various international, painless techniques Dr. Gupta feels, “out of the various causes that trigger off radial nerve palsy, common are a fracture to the humerus bone, constraint on the wrist due to any reason, awkward sleeping or resting position and blow or fall on the arm. Patients with kidney problems or diabetes should be precautious as they are more prone to radial nerve injury.”

Simply put by Dr. Vikas Gupta, the current head of hand and shoulder division, Max Healthcare, “Common signs that we look for in patients that seek our advice regarding nerve injury are intense pain, straightening the arm, bending or holding the hand.”
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After conducting more than 6000 surgeries in the hand and upper extremity Dr. Vikas Gupta needs no introduction. He is a globally acclaimed name for successfully treating his patients and while discussing treatment techniques regarding Radial Nerve injury, he affirms, “After we are confirmed of the presence of the nerve injury with the help of physical examination and various diagnostic tests, we strive to treat the patient as effectively as possible either by non surgical techniques, TENS technique or surgical release.”

With Dr. Vikas Gupta being an eminent presence at various conferences and workshops to present lectures/ papers, some complex cases who have been treated by him believe he is one of the most efficient surgeons in this field in India today. He concludes, “Patients with Radial Nerve injury can resume normal functions with their hand and wrist after 6 to 8 months completely.”


FAQ – Radial Nerve Injury

When an injury damages the radial nerve to cause difficulty in moving the arm and wrist, it is relevantly referred to as Radial Nerve Injury.
Radial Nerve is a nerve that runs on the underside of the arm. It is the radial nerve that is responsible for the extension of wrist and fingers.
The Radial Nerve not only controls the movement of the triceps muscle(lies at the back of the arm), it also controls sensation in a certain part of the hand.
Radial Nerve Injury results in Radial Neuropathy also known as Radial Nerve Palsy.
There are various probable causes that might induce Radial Nerve injury such as-
1. A fracture in the humerus bone or any other injury
2. Awkward position of the upper arm while sleeping
3. Immense pressure on the arm while leaning on the back of a chair for a long time
4. Fall on the arm
5. Blow on the arm
6. Any long term limitation/constriction to the wrist
7. Use of crutches in an improper manner
8. Lead poisoning
In some cases no pliable cause can be traced and in others presence of diabetes and kidney disease that cause damage to nerves can damage radial nerve too. To sum up the common causes, it can be said that sustaining an accident, breaking or overusing the arm may result in Radial Nerve injury.
The symptoms in radial nerve injury usually mark their presence at the back of the hand, near the thumb or middle and index fingers which are
1. Intense pain
2. Burning sensation
3. Numbness
4. Difficulty in straightening the arm at the elbow
5. Difficulty in bending or holding the hand
The motive of treatment is to provide mobility to the hand and wrist on one end and relieve the patient of the debilitating conditions, on the other. In some mild cases therapy exercises and oral medications help the symptoms subside on their own. In other cases non surgical treatment techniques comprising of oral anti inflammatory medicines, anti seizure medications, steroid injections, braces or splints and therapy exercises are undertaken. At many times the treatment plan so formulated is a blend of many techniques together. TENS Technique: In some cases transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) technique is undertaken to treat nerve injury. Under this therapy several electrodes are placed on the affected area and electric current is passed at varying speed to enable healing. In cases of radial nerve being entrapped, surgical techniques are undertaken to relieve the patient. Tendon transfer is also considered when the nerve has severely damaged. After the surgery the patient is prescribed gentle therapy exercises and wearing of splint or brace to enable healing.
After an inquiry into the mechanism of injury and thorough physical examination by comparing the affected arm and hand to the healthy side and conducting various rotating or extending exercises, the doctor concludes the presence of radial nerve injury. To further the prognosis the doctor prescribes blood tests, EMG, MRI, Ultrasound of the elbow or Nerve conduction tests. In very rare cases, the doctor may also go in for nerve biopsy.
Radial Nerve injury can be prevented by avoiding constant pressure on the upper arm, sleeping in positions that cramp and constraint the arm and also work that includes repeated pressure for long hours should be taken a break from at continuous intervals.
Every surgery can result in some complication. Failure in treatment of radial nerve injuries can result in deformity in the hand, partial or complete loss of feeling and movement in the hand or wrist or a subtle, unnoticed injury in the hand.
It usually takes 3 months for healing but 6 to 8 months before the patient can resume all normal chores as before.
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