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Median nerve

In the upper arm and near the shoulder, the median nerve branches off of the brachial plexus. It initially spans the length of the upper arm, as it runs a course parallel to the brachial artery. A portion of its path covers the medial side of the arm, near both the biceps brachii and brachialis muscle. For a large part of the course, the nerve runs lateral to the artery. However, it eventually crosses over and enters the cubital fossa of the elbow. The median nerve also extends downward through the forearm, ultimately traversing the carpal tunnel as it enters the hand. Since the nerve is so long, it contains many significant branches. It also innervates a number of muscles along the entire length of the arm. Also due to its length, the median nerve is susceptible to a number of conditions. These include lesions causing median nerve palsy. If the nerve is completely severed, “claw hand” will result. Carpal tunnel syndrome of the hand can also result due to compression.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Median nerve

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