The Extensor carpi ulnaris is a muscle in the back of the forearm. It runs from the top of the elbow down to the little finger. The muscle contributes to pain in the wrist that mimics that of a wrist sprain.

Contents of Article

    Where Is The Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Muscle?

    Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Muscle Showing Trigger Point Location

    The extensor carpi ulnaris connects the upper arm bone (humerus) to the bone at the base of the little finger (5th metacarpal).

    What Movements Does It Control?

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

    For detailed anatomy information: Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Anatomy


    Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

    Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Referred Pain Pattern
    • Sharp pain and aching on the backside of the outer wrist that feels like a sprain.
    • Weak, unreliable grip.
    • Pain can be intense when twisting the wrist.
    • A prime contributor to writers cramp

    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 Ulnaris Trigger Points To Develop?

    • Forced and repetitive gripping of a large 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

    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.


    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 supporting the wrist. A good choice for those who need wrist support but need full mobility of the hand and fingers.

    Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Trigger Point Treatment

    Trigger points in the extensor carpi ulnaris are easy to treat. 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, 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 of 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. You should keep Somba on hand; it provides almost instant relief for muscle pain. (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:

    • 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.
    • The extensor carpi ulnaris is the most common cause of pain in the outside of the wrist and hand.

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

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


    Other muscles that should be considered and examined:

    Satellite trigger points associated with the extensor carpi ulnaris 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
    • Extensor Digitorum



    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 Radialis Brevis