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Clinical examination

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The clinical examination of the radial nerve should comprise tests of:

  • motor supply - the radial nerve supplies triceps, brachioradialis, and the extensor muscles of the hand.

If the radial nerve is affected below the upper third of the upper arm then: - brachioradialis and the extensor muscles are affected - the patient will have a wrist drop which can be demonstrated by the patient's inability to extend the wrist when his elbow is flexed and his forearm pronated.

If a lesion is affects the radial nerve above the upper third of the upper arm then: - function of triceps - extension of the elbow - is also affected.

  • sensation - injury to the radial nerve at any level will cause loss of sensation over the anatomical snuff box.

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