Extensor Indicis Referred Pain Pattern

The Extensor Indicis Muscle

The extensor indicis is a muscle in the back of the forearm. Trigger points in the muscle contribute to pain in the back of the wrist and hand. TrPs will also make the first finger stiff, painful, and will cause the finger to cramp.

Contents of Article


    Extensor Indicis Muscle

    Where Is The Extensor Indicis Muscle?

    The extensor indicis connects the ulna (the bone on the pinky side of the forearm), to bones in the first finger (middle and distant phalanx).

    What Movements Does It Control?

    • Straightens the first finger

    For detailed anatomy information: Extensor Indicis Anatomy

    Extensor Indicis Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

    • Pain in the back of the hand
    • Pain in the back of the wrist
    • Pain sometimes descends into the first finger
    • Pain when bending the first finger
    • Cramping in the first finger
    • Pain in the back of the hand and first finger when gripping

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

    What Causes Trigger Points In the Extensor Indicis?

    • Repetitive gripping of the hand
    • Working at the computer
    • Using the mouse on a computer
    • Knitting. crocheting, sewing
    • Gripping a pen or pencil for extended periods of time

    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 providing support to the wrist.

    Extensor Indicis Trigger Point Treatment

    The extensor indicis muscle can be self-treated. Because muscle trigger points tend to occur in several muscles simultaneously, you will also need to check and treat other muscles in the arm, shoulder, and chest.

    TWD highly recommends The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. It is an excellent resource to learn how to find and treat trigger points not only in the arm but throughout the body.

    Another option is to find a massage therapist, chiropractor, or physical therapist who has trained in trigger point therapy. They will show you how to find and treat specific trigger points.

    Trigger points respond best to several 1-2 minute treatments spread throughout the day. Continue treatments until pain and symptoms do not occur when pressure is applied to the area surrounding the Trps.

    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:

    • Pain caused by dysfunction in the extensor indicis feels like a sprain in the back of the hand and/or first finger.

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

    • Carpal Tunnel
    • C5 C6 C7 or C8 radiculopathy
    • Dislocation of the first finger

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

    Satellite trigger points associated with the muscle:

    If you find trigger points in the extensor indicis muscle, you will want to check these muscles for additional trigger points.

    • Supinator
    • Extensor carpi radialis longus
    • Brachioradialis
    • Extensor carpi ulnaris


    TWD Recommends

    Freeze Sleeve Cold Therapy Compression Sleeve is recommended by medical professionals for treatment of injury 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.