The radial nerve aids arm, wrist, hand and finger movements. It also sends touch, pain and temperature sensations to the brain. Part of the peripheral nervous system, the radial nerve runs down the back of the arm from the armpit to the hand.
The radial nerve helps you move your elbow, wrist, hand and fingers. It runs down the back of the arm from the armpit to the hand.
The radial nerve is part of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system sends signals from your brain to your arms and fingers, lower limbs, skin and internal organs.
The radial nerve provides motor (movement) and sensory functions to the arm. It:
The radial nerve is one of five terminal nerve branches that make up the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a complex bundle of nerves that control movements and sensations in your shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. These nerves start from the lower cervical area in the neck and the upper chest (thoracic) portion of the spine and travel underneath the collarbone (clavicle), and then through the armpit (axilla).
The radial nerve starts at the lower armpit. It originates from several nerve roots (where a nerve connects to the central nervous system) that run from the:
From there, the nerve:
The radial nerve branches include:
Some of the other nerves responsible for movement and sensations to the arm include the:
Signs of a radial nerve problem include:
These steps can keep your nervous system healthy:
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
The radial nerves help you move your arm, wrist, hands and fingers. They also send information about touch, pain and temperature to your brain. A broken arm or dislocated shoulder can damage the radial nerve, leading to pain, weakness or numbness. A pinched nerve can cause radial tunnel syndrome or radial nerve palsy. You may have pain, weakness or paralysis in the arm, wrist or hands. These symptoms often improve with treatment.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/28/2021.
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