Pronator teres syndrome

Pronator teres syndrome involves median nerve ensnarement in which it moves amidst the 2 regions of the pronator teres muscle comprising the arm. The condition triggers numbness, pain and tingling in the forearm and hand.

The doctor will require specific tests to diagnose pronator teres syndrome such as resisted pronation and bending of the wrist. If pain is triggered, it indicates pronator teres syndrome.

What are the causes?

Pronator teres syndrome

Numbness or tingling in the palm, thumb and 3 fingers, but not the pinky finger.

It is important to note that the condition typically occurs after extensive or repetitive pronation of the forearm that is accompanied by forced flexion of the fingers such as strong grasping with the hand and twisting of the wrist. These actions are prevalent in physical occupations such as carpentry. In sports, rowing, racket sports as well as weight lifting are the usual culprits. The reason for the compression is due to the increase in the muscle bulk of the pronator teres muscle.

In some cases, pronator teres syndrome might occur due to injury to the forearm, tumors, bony abnormalities or limiting bands of fibrous tissue as well as scar tissue.

What are the indications?

The indications of pronator teres syndrome strikingly resemble carpal tunnel syndrome and includes:

  • Numbness or tingling in the palm, thumb and 3 fingers, but not the pinky finger
  • Aching sensation in the forearm
  • Tenderness on the pronator teres muscle in the arm if pressed
  • Diminished strength in the thumb and 1st three fingers and when turning the forearm inwards and bending the wrist

Management

  • The individual should rest from activities that added to the condition.
  • Apply an ice pack to relieve the pain and swelling. It should be applied for 10-15 minutes every hour initially and steadily reduced as needed.
  • Pain medications or anti-inflammatory medications particularly ibuprofen might be given.
  • Electrotherapy such as laser or ultrasound might be used.
  • In some cases, sports massage can be beneficial in reducing muscular tension.
  • Stretching of the pronator muscle is also useful.
  • Acupuncture might be done to release muscular tension.
  • A nerve block or even a corticosteroid injection might be recommended if the indications do not appear to settle.

It is important to note that surgery is seldom done to liberate any tight or any abnormal structures.

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