How Long Does Radial Tunnel Syndrome Last

by | Feb 15, 2024

Radial tunnel syndrome happens when there’s pressure or irritation on the radial nerve as it travels through your forearm. This can trigger symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your forearm or hand. It can be caused by repetitive motions, injury, or too much pressure on your forearm for too long.

Can Radial Tunnel Syndrome Heal On Its Own?

Radial tunnel syndrome is a nerve-related condition. It can sometimes heal on its own, especially if the reason behind it is temporary or minor. For example, if the syndrome is due to overuse or repetitive motion, keeping your arm at rest can help. Avoiding exhausting physical activities can reduce nerve irritation with time.

However, seeking medical attention is recommended if there’s an intense cause behind it or if the condition persists for too long. A healthcare professional can offer a complete diagnosis, suggest the right treatment, and prevent possible complexities.

How Long Does It Take for Radial Tunnel Damage to Heal?

There’s no hard and fast duration for the radial tunnel damage. It varies depending on factors like the intensity of the condition, the patient’s entire health, and the treatment’s effectiveness. In mild cases, symptoms can vanish within a few weeks with rest and conservative measures like ignoring physical activities and ice therapy to decrease inflammation.

However, due to the failure of other measures, healing can take longer. If there is severe nerve damage, surgery can be required to release the radial nerve strain. Recovery from surgery can require several weeks to months, and physical therapy can be needed to regain strength and mobility in the affected arm.

Treatment Options for Radial Tunnel Syndrome

An effective and initial worldwide treatment is to give up all physical activities and let your arm rest as much as possible. Combining enough rest and medical treatments can make many individuals recover in 3 to 6 weeks. If the pain persists after adopting all the preventive measures, you can take the following treatment options:

  • Using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Steroid injections to reduce inflammation and strain on the radial nerve.
  • Using a wrist or elbow splint. This decreases the muscle movement in your arm. Hence, your radial nerve experiences less irritation, especially when you sleep.

You can also adopt some physical therapy regimen to loosen up the tight muscles and tissues surrounding the radial nerve. Such as:

  • Wrist Extension Stretch
  • Wrist Flexion Stretch
  • Wrist supination
  • Radial nerve glides


The main objective of the whole treatment plan is to lift the unnecessary strain off your radial nerve. If all the non-operative methods fail, your doctor can suggest surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision on the external side of your elbow to get a clear view of the compressed nerve.

After locating the affected spots, your surgeon will cut the radial tunnel areas to decompress the tunnel. This minor surgery does not require you to remain overnight in the hospital.

Final Word

Whether it’s a pain in the arm or leg, it disrupts your routine. Not even a medical professional can tell how long a radial tunnel syndrome lasts without trying the initial treatment methods.

It is better to consult a hand and upper extremity expert like Dr. Luo at Randy Y. Luo directly. Our doctor and his team offer multiple programs, from formal therapy to specialized injury prevention. Dial (713) 794-3307 to reach out.

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