Follow and Like Us:

Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle: Elbow, Forearm, Wrist, Finger Pain

Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Pain Pattern

Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus contributes to pain in the elbow, forearm and back of the hand.

  • A burning sensation or constant ache is felt on the outside of the elbow and in the back of the hand by the thumb. A burning sensation is sometimes felt from the elbow to the back of the hand and can include the thumb.
  • Pain becomes worse when twisting the arm and wrist.
  • Weak unreliable grip.

Where Is The Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle Located?

  • The extensor carpi radialis longus is a long muscle that connects the thumb side of the elbow to the bone at the base of the first finger.

What Movements Does the Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Control?

  • Straightens the wrist
  • Side bends the wrist toward the thumb side
  • Helps to bend the wrist back
  • Helps to bend the elbow

Activities That Cause Pain and Symptoms of the Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus:

  • Forced and repetitive gripping an object (hammer,tennis  racket, pen / pencil)
  • Repetitive bending and straightening of the elbow
  • Orchestra conductors often have problems with this muscle
  • Playing an instrument with a bow
  • Golfing
  • Tennis
  • Typing for hours at a time
  • Writer's Cramp - writing or gripping other small instruments.
  • Knitting and crocheting
  • Twisting motions such as using a screwdriver or twisting a door knob.
Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle

You use the extensor carpi radialis longus muscle to straighten the wrist, and twist the wrist.

Interesting Facts About The Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle:

  • It is one of three muscles that support the wrist. Without these muscles, the wrist would hang limply from the forearm.
  • It as well as the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle are known as the fist-clenchers muscles
  • It is a prime contributor to tennis elbow

Clinical Diagnoses To Which The Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle May Contribute:

  • Lateral Epicondylitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Carpal Tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • C5 C6 or C7 radiculopathy

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the extensor carpi radialis longus muscle:

Satellite trigger points: Brachioradialis, Supinator, Triceps Brachii

For detailed anatomy information see: Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Anatomy

Help with Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle Injury Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Extensor Arm, Elbow, and Hand Injury Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is a cold therapy gel that provides pain relief for new injuries and is recommended as a maintenance treatment for overuse and repetitive use injuries such as tennis elbow.  Cold therapy should be used on 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. Many who have arthritis like to use Biofreeze on swollen painful joints. It is a favorite of athletes for both swelling reduction and pain relief due to injury and repetitive motion soreness.

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Elbow / Wrist Ice Wrap For Cold Treatment and Compression

Pain caused by the extensor carpi radialis longus muscle is felt mostly in the elbow, and in the back of the hand near the thumb. Dysfunction in this muscle is a prime contributor to tennis elbow.  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 carpi radialis longus muscle pain apply Sombra all around the elbow and down into the forearm, back o the hand, and thumb.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Wrist Brace To Provide Compression and Support To The Wrist and Thumb

Because twisting motions of the wrist can cause injury and irritate the extensor carpi radialis longus 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, 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 Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Symptoms

For post injury treatment or for those who suffer with chronic pain due to the repetitive strain of the extensor muscles in the arm,  the McDavid Elastic Elbow Sleeve will help by providing light support as well as gentle compression to the muscle.  The sleeve can be used as a maintenance treatment  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" To ensure that the entire length of the extensor muscles are receiving compression treatment, the full arm sleeve is the best option.

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 Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle Elbow, Forearm, Hand Pain

Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunctions in the extensor carpi radialis longus muscle can contribute to pain in the elbow that can travel into the hand?  It can also make it very painful to twist the arm and wrist. 

If this pain pattern sounds familiar  I  recommend that you purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain ReliefMr. 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, find it difficult to straighten the elbow without pain, and twist your arm and wrist, it may be trigger points in the 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.

Leave a Comment