Upper extremity nerve entrapments: the axillary and radial nerves - clinical diagnosis and surgical treatment.
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Non-traumatic pain in the shoulder, arm and hand (brachialgia) is a common complaint in the field of musculoskeletal disorders, where nerve entrapment constitutes a possible cause. The effect of nerve compression is dose-dependent; hence a low-level compression will only result in decreased endoneurial circulation, neural edema and a Seddon's grade-IV weakness, but won't be revealed in nerve conduction or magnetic resonance imaging studies. Due to technical limitations, several clinical options to diagnose compression neuropathies in the upper extremity have been proposed. These include blinded-controlled studies on manual muscle testing to delineate level of nerve compression, and scratch-collapse test (SCT) to verify the level of compression. In this manuscript, we describe the clinical examination and surgical techniques to diagnose and treat entrapments of the axillary and radial nerves.