The extensor carpi radialis brevis is a muscle found in the back of the forearm. It contributes to pain in the wrist, back of the hand, and the outside of the elbow. You may also experience burning and tingling in the back of the forearm.

Contents of Article

    Where Is The Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle?

    Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle Showing Trigger Point Location

    The extensor carpi radialis brevis connects the bone of the upper arm (humerus) to the bone at the base of the middle finger (3rd metacarpal).

    What Movements Does It Control?

    • Straightens the wrist
    • Twist the wrist away from the body

    For detailed anatomy information: Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Anatomy


    Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

    Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle Showing Trigger Point Location
    • A burning sensation or constant ache is felt in the back of the hand. Pain will sometimes extend into the back of the forearm.
    • A weak, unreliable grip.
    • Excruciating pain when you twist your wrist
    • This muscle can cause numbing and tingling in the hand and fingers.

    TWD Recommends

    Jar grips should be in every kitchen to open jars and bottles to help prevent injury to the arm extensor muscles. So many painful arm, wrist, and hand injuries happen when trying to open sealed lids on jars. Great for those with hand and wrist arthritis. Works on doorknobs too!

    What Causes Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Trigger Points To Develop?

    • Forced and repetitive gripping of a large
    • Knitting and crocheting
    • Golfing
    • Tennis
    • Typing for hours at a time
    • Writing or gripping other small instruments for extended amounts of time.
    • Twisting motions such as using a screwdriver or twisting a doorknob.

    TWD Recommends

    Whether the pain in your hands is caused by trigger points, a muscle injury, or arthritis, compression has been shown to help with pain relief. The Imak Compression Arthritis Gloves are some of the best on the market.

    The gloves provide gentle compression, which helps decrease both pain relief and inflammation. The seams of the gloves are sewn to the outside so you will not have irritation or discomfort. The fingers opening is reinforced so that they will not fray with wear or during washing.

    To determine your size, measure straight across the widest part of your palm. Extra small: up to 2 3/4 inches wide. Small: up to 3 1/8 inches across. Medium: up to 3 1/2 inches across. Large: up to 4 inches across. Extra-large: up to 4 1/2 inches across.

    Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Trigger Point Treatment

    One option is to find a massage therapist, physical therapist, or chiropractor who has trigger point therapy training. A person with TrP training will show you how to locate and treat the specific trigger points contributing to your pain.

    You can also use The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook to learn how to self-treat the muscles. The extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle is easy to self-treat. The workbook has instructions and diagrams to guide you through treatment. The book will also provide a resource to treat muscle pain throughout the body.

    If you are going to use the workbook, you will need a massage ball to do the treatment. Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls can be used on muscles throughout the body.

    Trigger points respond best to several 1-2 minutes treatments spread throughout the day.

    Sombra Warm Therapy Gel is recommended for relaxing muscles and relieving pain. It warms without the burning heat of other gels. An excellent choice for pain caused by trigger points, muscle/joint over-use and stiffness, and arthritis. If you have reoccurring muscle cramps or pain, you should keep Somba on hand, it provides almost instant relief. (Not sold in stores)

    Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain-relieving gel recommend for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries.  It is better to use than warm therapy gels and creams for muscle pain caused by inflammation as it cools the area much like ice. If your pain is from a recent injury, use Biofreeze. It is excellent to use on sprains, strained and sore muscles, and joints.

    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 and 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.

    Interesting facts:

    • It is one of three muscles that support the wrist. Without these muscles, the wrist would hang limply from the forearm.
    • Contributes to tennis elbow.
    • It is sometimes called the “fist clencher” muscle as the wrist must be slightly extended, and the middle finger must bend to make a fist.

    Extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle pain and symptoms can be similar to, contribute to, and be affected by these medical diagnoses:

    • Lateral Epicondylitis
    • Tennis Elbow
    • Carpal Tunnel
    • C6 C7 or C8 radiculopathy
    • Ganglion Cyst


    Other muscles that should be considered and examined:

    Satellite trigger points associated with the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle:

    Trigger points in one muscle will cause TrPs to develop in other muscles. These are known as satellite trigger points. You will need to check these muscles for additional TrPs.

    • Brachioradialis
    • Supinator
    • Triceps Brachii

    TWD Recommends

    Freeze Sleeve Cold Therapy Compression Sleeve is recommended by medical professionals to treat injury and over-use soreness. The sleeve provides total circumference cold therapy and compression that other cold treatments do not offer. The sleeve slides on and features material that can be worn on bare skin, allowing you to be mobile during treatment.

    Muscles Which Contribute To These Conditions:

     |  |  | |  |  |  |  |  | 

    Muscles With Similar Pain Patterns

    Extensor Carpi Ulnaris
    Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus