The Eurasian Journal of Medicine
Original Article

Orthopedic Management of Radial Tunnel Syndrome: A Diagnostic and Treatment Dilemma

1.

Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Atatürk University Faculty of Medicine, Erzurum, Turkey

2.

Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, İstanbul University İstanbul Faculty of Medicine, İstanbul, Turkey

Eurasian J Med 2023; 55: 59-63
DOI: 10.5152/eurasianjmed.2023.22274
Read: 700 Downloads: 317 Published: 02 February 2023

Objective: The first-line treatment for radial tunnel syndrome is conservative despite limited evidence concerning its efficiency. Surgical release is indicated if nonsurgical measures fail. Radial tunnel syndrome cases may be misdiagnosed as the more common lateral epicondylitis, and misdiagnosing radial tunnel syndrome causes wrong treatment and, thus, the perpetuation or increase of the pain. Although radial tunnel syndrome is a rare disorder, such cases can be encountered in tertiary hand surgery centers. This study aimed to present our experience in diagnosing and managing patients with radial tunnel syndrome.

Material and Methods: Eighteen patients (7 male, 11 female; mean age=41.5 years, age range=22-61) in whom radial tunnel syndrome was diagnosed and treated at a single tertiary care center were retrospectively reviewed and included. Previous diagnoses (wrong diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, missed diagnosis, and other), previous treatments for such diagnoses, and their results before presenting to our institution were recorded. The shortened disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand questionnaire score and visual analog scale score were recorded before the surgery and at the final follow-up appointment.

Results: All the patients included in the study underwent steroid injections. Eleven patients (11/18, 61%) benefited from steroid injection and conservative treatment. The remaining 7 patients refractory to conservative treatment were offered surgical treatment. Of these, 6 patients accepted surgery while 1 did not accept it. In all patients, the mean visual analog scale score significantly improved from 6.38 (range: 5-8) to 2.1 (range: 0-7) (P < .001). The mean quick-disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand questionnaire scores were significantly improved from 43.4 (range: 31.8-52.5) preoperatively to 8.7 (range: 0-45.5) at the final follow-up (P < .001). In the surgical treatment group, the mean visual analog scale score significantly improved from 6.1 (range: 5-7) to 1.2 (range: 0-4) (P < .001). The mean quick-disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand questionnaire scores were significantly improved from 37.4 (range: 31.2-45.5) preoperatively to 4.7 (range: 0-13.6) at the final follow-up (P < .001).

Conclusion: Our experience has shown that satisfactory results can be obtained by surgical treatment for patients with radial tunnel syndrome refractory to nonsurgical treatment whose diagnosis is confirmed by a thorough physical examination.

Cite this article as: Engin MÇ, Demirel M, Kahraman A, Ayık Ö. Orthopedic management of radial tunnel syndrome: A diagnostic and treatment dilemma. Eurasian J Med 2023;55(1):59-63.

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