What causes radial mononeuropathy?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: Wayne E Anderson, DO, FAHS, FAAN; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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See the list below:

  • Penetrating trauma can cause injury anywhere along the nerve.

  • Compressive lesions high in the axilla can occur from improper use of crutches.

  • Compression injuries at the humeral spiral groove occur in patients with sustained compression of this area over a period of several hours. [3]

    • This is reported in patients who fall asleep in a drunken or drug-induced stupor with the arm over a chair. It also can occur in honeymooners.

    • Fracture of the humerus is a common cause of radial neuropathy due to compression or secondary laceration of the nerve as it wraps around the humerus near the spiral groove. [4]

    • Radial neuropathy has also been reported in wheelchair users, when the spiral groove of the humerus is compressed on a hard wheelchair surface. [5]

  • Subluxation of the radius can produce radial nerve injury in the proximal forearm.

  • The posterior interosseous syndrome typically occurs from compression of this division of the radial nerve as penetrates the supinator muscle within the proximal forearm. [6]

    • It is associated with repetitive supination of the forearm and hypertrophy of the supinator muscle.

    • It also can occur secondary to elbow synovitis, ganglion cysts [7] , enlarged bursa from the elbow, or tumors (especially lipomas at the entry of the radial nerve into the supinator muscle).

  • Isolated distal sensory radial neuropathy is associated with compression from handcuffs and tight bracelets.

  • Bilateral radial palsies suggest lead intoxication. Lead exposure may be occupational. [8]

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