The extensor carpi radialis longus is a muscle found in the back of the forearm. Trigger points in the muscle cause pain in the elbow, back of the hand, and forearm.

Contents of Article

    Where Is The Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle?

    Extensor Capri Radialis Longus Muscle Showing Trigger Point Location

    The extensor carpi radialis longus is a long muscle that connects the thumb side of the elbow (medial epicondyle) to the bone at the base of the first finger (metacarpal).

    What Movements Does It Control?

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

    For detailed anatomy information: Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Anatomy


    Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

    Image Of Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle Pain Pattern
    • A burning sensation or constant ache is felt on the outside of the elbow and in the back of the hand by the thumb.
    • Pain becomes worse when twisting the arm and wrist.
    • Weak, unreliable grip.

    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 while trying to open sealed lids on jars. Great for those with hand and wrist arthritis. Works on doorknobs too!

    What Causes Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Points To Develop?

    • 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
    • Knitting and crocheting
    • 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 Longus Trigger Point Treatment

    If you would like to learn self-treatment, get The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. The workbook will walk you through finding the muscle and the trigger point. The diagrams and instructions will teach you how to do the appropriate treatment. Best of all, you will have a resource to help you locate and treat TrPs throughout the body.

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

    You may also find a massage therapist, physical therapist, or chiropractor with trigger point therapy training to show you how to find and treat the specific TrP.

    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 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

    Interesting facts:

    • 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
    • It is a primary cause of writers' cramp

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

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


    Other muscles that should be considered and examined:

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

    Trigger points 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 With Similar Pain Patterns

    Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis
    Extensor Carpi Ulnaris