Radial tunnel syndrome
Posterior interosseous syndrome (PIN)

Radial tunnel syndrome is the name given to describe nerve entrapment in the forearm. The condition is also referred to as PIN (posterior interosseous syndrome).

arm radial tunnel syndrome nervus radialis radial nerve

Radial tunnel syndrome is less common than the more frequently diagnosed tennis elbow. Both conditions have similar symptoms and are therefore difficult to distinguish from one another.

Description of the condition

In the case of radial tunnel syndrome, the radial nerve is impinged. This is the nerve on the back of the forearm. The impingement is located between a number of muscles in the forearm. These muscles form a tunnel near the outside of the elbow. We call this space, through which the nerve runs, the 'radial tunnel'.

Cause and origin

Signs & symptoms

  • Pain on the upper outer side of the forearm.
  • Loss of strength.
  • The symptoms increase with activities that require outward rotation of the forearm against resistance. For example, using a screw driver or twisting the lid off a jar.
  • Increased muscle tension can be observed in the muscles that are located just beneath the elbow.
  • Usually this is not accompanied by pins and needles. Only when the impingement is located higher up will this be associated with pins and needles on the upper side of the hand.




You can check your symptoms using the online physiotherapy check or make an appointment with a physiotherapy practice in your area.

arm radial tunnel syndrome pain area location

Bayramoglu, M. (2004). Entrapment neuropathies of the upper extremity. Neuroanatomy. 2004;3:18-24.
Cleland, J.A. & Koppenhaver, S. (2011). Netter's orthopaedic clinical examination: an evidence-based approach. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
Conneely, A. & Wilcox, R. (2007). Standard of care: radial tunnel syndrome. The Brigham and Women`s Hospital, Inc. Department of Rehabilitation Services.
Thatte, M.R. & Mansukhani, K.A. (2011). Compressive neuropathy in the upper limb. Indian J Plast Surg. 2011 May-Aug; 44(2): 283-297.

arm radial tunnel syndrome nervus radialis radial nerve
arm radial tunnel syndrome pain area location

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