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Radial Nerve Palsy


Radial nerve palsy is a condition that affects the radial nerve. The radial nerve starts in your upper arm and runs down to your wrist and fingers. It controls how your arm and hand move and feel. This condition may go away over time or you may always have it.



  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

How to care for my splint or cast at home:

  • Elevate your arm: If you have a splint or cast on your arm, elevate it above the level of your heart to reduce swelling. The easiest way to do this is to prop your arm on pillows. Keep your arm elevated as much as possible for the first 2 to 3 days.
  • Ice your arm: If you have a splint or cast on your arm, ice may help reduce swelling. Use an ice pack or put ice in a plastic bag and wrap a towel around it to prevent leaking. Put the ice pack on your arm, over your splint or cast, as often as directed for the first 2 to 3 days.

Physical therapy:

Physical therapy helps you with special exercises. These exercises help make your bones and muscles strong and flexible.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or neurologist as directed:

Write down any questions you have so you remember to ask them in your follow-up visits.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You see redness, swelling, or pus around your wound.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your splint or cast is too tight or causes pain. The skin around your splint stings or burns.
  • Weakness and numbness in your arm and hand are worse after treatment.
  • Pain is worse after treatment, with swelling, burning, and changes in the color of the skin on the injured arm.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Radial Nerve Palsy (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.