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Brachioradialis Muscle: Elbow, Forearm, Thumb Pain

Brachioradialis Pain Pattern

The brachioradialis contributes to elbow, forearm and hand pain.

  • Pain in the back of the forearm near the elbow
  • Pain in the back of the hand at the base of the thumb extending into the web of the thumb and up toward the wrist
  • Pain is noticeably pronounced when you twist your hand
  • Numbness on the thumb side of the hand
  • Noticeable weakness in grip strength

Where is the brachioradialis muscle located?

The brachioradialis is located on the thumb side of the forearm. It connects the upper arm to the lower arm.

What movements does the brachioradialis muscle control?

Bends the forearm at the elbow


Activities that cause brachioradialis pain and symptoms:

  • Repetitive and forceful hand gripping
  • Tennis
  • Throwing a frisbee
  • Opening a jar
  • Using a hammer
  • Gardening
  • Writing for extended periods
  • Sewing by hand
  • Knitting
Brachioradialis Muscle

You use the brachioradialis to bend your elbow.

Clinical diagnoses to which the brachioradialis muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Lateral Epicondylitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Tenosynovitis
  • C5 or C6 radiculopathy
  • Ganglion Cyst
  • Sprain/Strain of the elbow, wrist, or thumb

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the brachioradialis:

Satellite Trigger Points: Extensor carpi radialis longus, Extensor carpi radialis brevis, Extensor digitorum, Extensor digiti minimi, Extensor carpi ulnaris, Triceps Brachii, Supinator

For Detailed Anatomy Information See: Brachioradialis Anatomy Study

Help with Brachioradialis Muscle Injury Pain

Cold Therapy Treatment For Elbow and Forearm Pain Traveling Down To Thumb

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is a cold therapy gel that provides pain relief for new injuries. It is also great as a maintenance treatment for overuse injuries.  Cold therapy should be used for new and recent injuries instead of heat as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If you have recently injured the brachioradialis  muscle, suspect tennis elbow or have unexplained pain that has just started in the elbow going down the forearm and into the thumb, use Biofreeze. Rub the gel into the entire elbow area going down to the back of the forearm and hand.

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury
Elbow / Wrist Ice Wrap For Cold Treatment and Compression

The brachioradialis muscle can contribute to pain in the elbow, down into the forearm, and the back of the hand below the thumb.  It is important to treat the entire muscle for pain relief. The DonJoy DuraKold Wrist and Elbow Ice Wrap is a good choice for this pain. I like this wrap because it can be used  for the elbow and forearm and repositioned for the wrist for wrist and base of the thumb pain. The wrap retains the cold for well over an hour, however, the recommended cold therapy treatment time is 20 - 30 minutes per session, longer treatment time could result in tissue damage.

DonJoy Wrist and Elbow Cold Wrap

Warm Therapy Gel For Extensor Muscle, Arm, Elbow and Hand Injury and Arthritis Pain

For arthritic or chronic shoulder, arm, elbow and hand pain relief I recommend Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel. Sombra provides warmth without burning and is better at relieving pain than other over the counter pain creams. To relieve extensor digitorum muscle pain apply Sombra all around the elbow and down the back of the forearm, into the wrist, and thumb.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Wrist Brace To Support Wrist and Thumb

Because twisting motions of the wrist can cause injury and irritate the brachioradialis muscle, a wrist brace can help relieve pain in the wrist and thumb area.  The ActiveWrap Compression Wrap for the Hand & Wrist not only provides compression and support in the wrist and thumb pad area but also comes with insert gel packs for hot and cold treatment. The brace can be used on either hand and has two Velcro closures that can be adjusted for comfort.

ActiveWrap Wrist and Hand Hot and Cold Wrap

The Neo G Medical Grade VCS Wrist and Thumb Support provides adjustable wrist support and compression to the wrist. The brace allows full movement hand, fingers, and thumb while providing support to the wrist. A good choice for those who need wrist support but need full mobility of the hand and fingers.


Support and Light Compression Sleeve For Tennis Elbow Symptoms

For post injury treatment or for those who suffer from chronic pain due to the brachioradialis muscle the McDavid Elastic Elbow Sleeve will help by providing light support, as well as gentle compression to the muscle.  Pull the sleeve up just to the top of the elbow joint which provides best results. The sleeve can be used as a maintenance treatment by those who play tennis and golf as well as construction workers who use tight grips with wrist and elbow twisting motions.

For correct size measure around elbow: Small 8-9 1/2"  Medium 9 1/2 - 11" Large 11 - 12 " Xlarge 12 - 14"
Full Arm Compression Sleeve for Elbow, Forearm and Wrist Pain

The CompressionZ Compression Arm Sleeves are for those who want or need more support for muscle injury, muscle recovery or lymphedema. The sleeves work well for those who have chronic elbow, forearm and wrist pain due to repetitive motions that can irritate the extensor muscles in the arm. The sleeves work well for athletes as well as people whose jobs require repetitive twisting motions of the wrist. The sleeves are available in 3 sizes and a variety of colors. Be sure to read the size chart and follow the instructions to ensure proper fit. Two sleeves per package

Arm Compression Sleeves
BandIT Therapeutic Forearm Band: Compression Band for Tennis Elbow, Golf Elbow, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Repetitive Stress Injuries

The BandIT Forearm Band is worn by many professional athletes to prevent and relieve muscle pain caused by repetitive motions of the elbow and wrist. The BandIT uses selective pressure on the forearm muscles without cutting off circulation, limiting range of motion or causing swelling around the band. Though I do not recommend this as a long-term treatment or for long-term wear, the BandIT can help relieve pain for athletes to help get through a game or for those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome that want pain relief while typing to make a deadline. Read and follow the enclosed instructions for temporary relief from forearm, wrist, hand, and finger pain.


Self Treatment For Brachioradialis Muscle Pain

Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunction in the brachioradialis can contribute to pain in the elbow that can travel into the hand and thumb? The elbow pain is a symptom of tennis elbow and if the pain extends down the forearm into the thumb it is often diagnosed as carpal tunnel.

If this pain pattern sounds familiar  I  recommend that you purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it.  It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body.  If you have unresolved elbow, forearm pain and find it difficult to straighten the elbow without pain, it may be trigger points in the brachioradialis and extensor muscles of the arm. Deactivating trigger points can reduce or eliminate this pain. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.

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