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  • Writer's pictureRobin R Varghese, PT.

Did you say, "WRIST DROP"? Don't drop the idea of getting it treated. We are here to help you.

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

Wrist drop

Wrist drop is a disorder caused by radial nerve palsy

  • Injury to the radial nerve results in the inability to properly utilize the extensor muscles of the wrist and digits.

  • The hand hangs flaccidly in a position of flexion when the patient attempts to bring the arm to a horizontal position.

  • This leads to dropping of the wrist, therefore known as wrist drop.

Causes of wrist drop

  • Penetrating trauma like a stab wound to the shoulder area just below the clavicle

  • Humeral fracture

  • External compression like prolonged or improper use of crutches and Saturday night palsy

  • Nutritional deficiencies like thiamine deficiency

  • Systemic neuromuscular disorder, such as limb-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Physical Therapy Management

  • Your Physical therapist will find out if the cause is neurogenic ,non-neurogenic or mechanical such as a bone spur or compression which might need surgery.

  • Non-surgical treatment includes:

Splint or Cast

  • A splint or cast can support the wrist and hand while the radial nerve heals.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

  • This therapy applies a gentle electric current to the muscles and may help reduce pain.


  • Physical therapist may prescribe exercises to strengthen your muscles and increase your range of motion.


  • The prognosis after developing wrist drop depends on the degree and severity of radial nerve injury.

  • Even in most cases of mild injury, recovery still takes at least 2 to 4 months.

  • In cases where recovery fails, tendon transfer surgery may improve function.


  • Partial or complete loss of feeling in the hand: If the radial nerve doesn’t heal completely, numbness may be permanent.

  • Partial or complete loss of wrist or hand movement: If the radial nerve doesn’t heal completely, weakness may be permanent.

  • Mild-to-severe deformities of the hand: Ongoing radial nerve problems can cause joint and muscle stiffening or muscle atrophy.

  • Recurrent or unnoticed injuries to the wrist or hand: If the wrist or hand are numb, a person may not notice an injury.

At Valley Healing Hands, Brownsville, Texas, We provide the best Physical Therapy treatment for Radial Nerve Palsy or Wrist drop. Our therapists are highly qualified and will be more than willing to assist you. Our patients are completely satisfied with our services. You can learn what they have to say about us here and connect with us. Our patients love us and you too will!!!

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