We are doing a Three Part Series on Radial Tunnel Syndrome. It happens when the radial nerve is squeezed where it passes through a tunnel near the elbow and the result is pain in the forearm.
Here's more on a Southwest Minnesota man who has had the condition for over a year and has tried everything but surgery. When we talked to him, he was 24 hours away from that.
We met up with Tom Mundt from Tyler, MN on Monday February 4th, the day before he goes under the knife and he is going about his business diligently, meticulously and carefully always favoring his hurting right arm as he has for the last year.
Tom says, "As far as surgery goes, I'm looking forward to the fact I can alleviate the fear of dropping something. That's my biggest worry because I deal with hazardous waste."
Tom works for the State of Minnesota commerce department in weights and measures. He's in Luverne, checking the accuracy of a gas station's propane scale. And thankfully he is supposed to do it one weight at a time. He can't do much more in his condition and he often uses his left arm.
Tom says, "I can pinpoint the exact spot. It's tender to the touch too. When that pains goes through it's like hitting your elbow or touching an electric fence."
13 months ago Tom went to lift up a 5 gallon test measure, when it's full of fuel it weighs 50 pounds. He felt something in his right forearm that he knew wasn't right and never went away.
Finally, Tom saw hand and arm surgeon Dr. R. Blake Curd at the Orthopedic Institute in Sioux Falls. Dr. Curd knew within minutes Tom suffered from radial tunnel syndrome that for him needed surgery to repair because medication and rest didn't alleviate the problem.
Dr. Curd says, "Radial Tunnel is caused by compression of a muscle on a nerve in the arm across the normal anatomy that's reacting somewhat in an abnormal way."
Tom is looking forward to Dr. Curd relieving the pressure on his radial nerve because he's tired of living with the royal pain in his arm. It's not just heavy weight that bothers Tom either, sometimes simple things like pulling up his socks or the sheets will send a sharp pain through this arm.
In Part 2, we go into surgery with Dr. Curd and Tom Mundt.