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  • Updated 12.31.2020
  • Expires For CME 12.31.2023

Radial neuropathy



In this article, the author reviews the clinical presentation and treatment of radial neuropathies. A systematic literature review indicated that 11.8% of humeral fractures are associated with radial neuropathy. Electromyography and nerve conduction studies play a critical role in assessing radial neuropathies, including their pathophysiology, severity, prognosis, and management.

Historical note and terminology

Lateral elbow pain was first described in 1873 (28). A decade later, posterior interosseous nerve entrapment within the supinator muscle was speculated to be the cause of “Lawn tennis arm” (23). In 1932, entrapment of the superficial radial nerve was first recognized (38). “Saturday night palsy” was felt to be caused by compression of the radial nerve during sleep (35). During World Wars I and II, shrapnel was the most common cause of injury to the radial nerve (12).

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