Peripheral Nerve Compression Neuropathy After Fractures of the Distal Radius

Author(s): Bienek T, Kusz D, Cielinski L

Source: J Hand Surg 31B:256-260, 2006.


Sixty patients with unilateral distal radius fractures from low energy trauma were managed by closed fracture reduction and long-arm cast immobilization.  Clinical signs of carpal tunnel syndrome were reported at a mean of 10 months post injury in 12 patients or 20% (range, 6.5 weeks to 27 months).  These 12 cases were confirmed by electrodiagnostic study.  There were no instances of acute carpal tunnel syndrome, pre-existing carpal tunnel syndrome, or bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome.  The authors detected a correlation between late onset carpal tunnel syndrome and a suboptimal clinical outcome.  There were no associations between carpal tunnel syndrome and fracture type or resultant distal radius bone alignment.

The clinical outcome after a distal radius fracture is dependent upon several factors, including patient age and activity level, articular congruency, median nerve function, and the integrity of soft-tissue stabilizing structures.  Radius fracture is a well-recognized cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.  The findings from this study would appear to support a high index of suspicion and careful evaluation of median nerve function following closed management of distal radius fractures.



Related Links
Journal of Hand Surgery