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

(Last Updated On: August 10, 2018)
Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Pain Pattern

The extensor carpi radialis longus contributes to pain in the elbow, forearm and back of the hand.

What Are The Pain And Symptoms Associated With The Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle?

  • 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.


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
  • 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 associated with the extensor carpi radialis longus muscle:

  • Brachioradialis
  • Supinator
  • Triceps Brachii

For detailed anatomy information:  
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.

Cold Therapy Freeze Sleeve For Arm Injury and Pain

Freeze Sleeve Cold Therapy Compression Sleeve is recommended by medical professionals for treatment of injury, recovery, and over-use soreness. The sleeve provides total circumference cold therapy and compression that other cold treatments do not provide. The sleeve slides on and features material that can be worn on bare skin, allowing you to be mobile during treatment. It can be used for most areas of the arms and legs.

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 muscle pain apply Sombra all around the elbow and down the back of the forearm, into the wrist, 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 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

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.

Wrist Brace To Support Wrist and Thumb

Because twisting motions of the wrist can cause injury and irritate the extensor muscles, 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.

The Neo G Medical Grade VCS Wrist and Thumb Support provides adjustable wrist support and compression to the wrist. The brace allows full movement of the 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.

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 and find it difficult to straighten the elbow without pain it maybe 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.

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