Is Dry Needling of the Supinator a Safe Procedure? A Potential Treatment for Lateral Epicondylalgia or Radial Tunnel Syndrome. A Cadaveric Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Aug 31;18(17):9162. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18179162.

ABSTRACT

The supinator muscle is involved in two pain conditions of the forearm and wrist: lateral epicondylalgia and radial tunnel syndrome. Its close anatomical relationship with the radial nerve at the arcade of Frohse encourages research on dry needling approaches. Our aim was to determine if a solid filiform needle safely penetrates the supinator muscle during the clinical application of dry needling. Needle insertion of the supinator muscle was conducted in ten cryopreserved forearm specimens with a 30 × 0.32 mm filiform needle. With the forearm pronated, the needle was inserted perpendicular into the skin at the dorsal aspect of the forearm at a point located 4cm distal to the lateral epicondyle. The needle was advanced to a depth judged to be in the supinator muscle. Safety was assessed by measuring the distance from the needle to the surrounding neurovascular bundles of the radial nerve. Accurate needle penetration of the supinator muscle was observed in 100% of the forearms (needle penetration:16.4 ± 2.7 mm 95% CI 14.5 mm to 18.3 mm). No neurovascular bundle of the radial nerve was pierced in any of the specimen’s forearms. The distances from the tip of the needle were 7.8 ± 2.9 mm (95% CI 5.7 mm to 9.8 mm) to the deep branch of the radial nerve and 8.6 ± 4.3 mm (95% CI 5.5 mm to 11.7 mm) to the superficial branch of the radial nerve. The results from this cadaveric study support the assumption that needling of the supinator muscle can be accurately and safely conducted by an experienced clinician.

PMID:34501752 | DOI:10.3390/ijerph18179162

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