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Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Muscle: Wrist Pain

Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Pain Pattern

Extensor Carpi Ulnaris contributes to pain in the wrist on the pinky side of the hand. The pain mimics that of a wrist sprain.

  • Sharp pain and aching on the outside of the wrist, feels like a sprain.
  • Weak unreliable grip.
  • Pain can be intense when twisting the wrist.
  • Prime contributor to writers cramp

Where Is The Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Muscle Located?

The extensor carpi ulnaris connects the elbow to the bone at the base of the little finger.

What Movements Does the Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Control?

  • Straightens the wrist
  • Side bends the wrist toward the little finger side.

Activities That Cause Pain and Symptoms of the Extensor Carpi Ulnaris:

  • Forced and repetitive gripping of a large and/or wide object
  • Twisting motions such as using a screwdriver or twisting a doorknob.
  • Knitting and crocheting
  • Golfing
  • Tennis
  • Working at the computer
  • Gripping a pen or pencil for extended periods of time

Interesting Facts About The Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Muscle:

  • When typing or writing, you rest your hand on the padding below the pinky finger. This twists your wrist outward and contributes to pain and dysfunction in the extensor carpi ulnaris.
Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Muscle

You use the extensor carpi ulnaris when you straighten your wrist and side bend the wrist toward the pinky.

Clinical Diagnoses To Which The Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Muscle May Contribute:

  • Carpal Tunnel
  • C8 radiculopathy
  • Charcot's Joint
  • Wrist Sprain

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the extensor digitorum muscle:

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

For detailed anatomy information: Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Anatomy

Help with Extensor Digitorum Muscle Injury and Pain

Cold Therapy Treatment For Wrist Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is a cold therapy gel that provides pain relief for new injuries and is 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 extensor carpi ulnaris muscle or have unexplained pain that has just started in the wrist, use Biofreeze. Rub the gel into the elbow down the back of the arm to the wrist. You can also apply it to the outside of the hand and wrist for pain relief.

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Elbow / Wrist Ice Wrap For Cold Treatment and Compression

Pain caused by the extensor carpi ulnaris mimics a sprain.  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. 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

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. It provides warmth without burning heat.  It works well for post-injury pain and stiffness as well as chronic arthritis pain as it can be applied several times a day. Apply Sombra all around the elbow, into the back of the forearm and into the outside of the hand and little finger to ease the pain.

NOTE: Do not use Sombra Warming Gel when using ice packs or heat packs as there is a risk of blistering the skin. For the most effective treatment, apply 5 to 10 minutes before putting on a brace or sleeve.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Wrist Brace To Support and Relieve Wrist Pain

Because twisting motions of the wrist can cause injury and irritate the extensor carpi ulnaris muscle, a wrist brace can help relieve pain in the wrist and hand.  The ActiveWrap Compression Wrap for the Hand & Wrist not only provides compression and support in the wrist and outside of the hand 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.

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 carpi ulnaris muscle. 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 Ulnaris Muscle Wrist Pain

Do you know that small "knots" or other dysfunction in the extensor carpi ulnaris muscle can cause pain that mimics a sprained wrist?  It can also make it difficult to impossible  to twist your wrist as you would to open a jar or turn a screwdriver.  

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 wrist pain and find it difficult to twist your wrist without pain it maybe trigger points in the extensor carpi ulnaris 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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