Radial tunnel syndrome results from compression of the radial nerve by the free edge of the supinator muscle or closely related structures in the vicinity of the elbow joint. Despite numerous reports on the surgical management of this disorder, it remains largely unrecognized and often neglected. The symptoms of radial tunnel syndrome can resemble those of tennis elbow, chronic wrist pain or tenosynovitis. Reliable objective criteria are not available to differentiate between these pathologies. These difficulties are discussed in relation to 29 patients who underwent 30 primary explorations and proximal decompressions of the radial nerve. Excellent or good results were obtained in 70%, fair results in 13% and poor results in 17% of patients. The results can be satisfactory despite the prolonged duration of symptoms. We believe that a diagnosis of radial tunnel syndrome should always be born in mind when dealing with patients with forearm and wrist pain that has not responded to more conventional treatment. Patients with occupations requiring repetitive manual tasks seem to be particularly at risk of developing radial tunnel syndrome and it is also interesting to note that 66% of patients with on-going medico-legal claims had successful outcomes following surgery.

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