Flexor Pollicis Longus Referred Pain Pattern

Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle: Trigger Point Pain

The flexor pollicis longus muscle is a muscle in the front of the forearm. Trigger points (TrPs) in the muscle cause pain and stiffness in the thumb. TrPs affect the ability to grip that can make holding a pen or eating utensils painful and difficult.

Contents of Article


    Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle

    Where Is The Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle?

    The flexor pollicis longus attaches to forearm bone located on the same side as the thumb (radius). It runs down the forearm and attaches to the tip of the thumb (distal phalanx).

    What Movements Does It Control?

    • Bends the thumb (flexion)
    • Bends the wrist (flexion)

    For detailed anatomy information: Flexor  Pollicis Longus Anatomy Study

    Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

    • Pain in the joint of the thumb
    • Pain in the tip of the thumb
    • Weakness in your grip
    • Popping or locking of the thumbs’ middle joint
    • Difficulty holding a pen, pencil, or silverware
    • Difficulty buttoning clothes
    • Difficulty tying shoelaces

    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 Flexor Pollicis Longus Trigger Points To Develop?

    • Activities that require constant gripping of tools
    • Activities that require a pinching motion between thumb and forefinger
    • Writing for long periods of time
    • Artists who paint
    • Counting large sums of money, e.g. bank tellers and cashiers
    • Pulling small weeds that you grip between your thumb and fingers to remove

    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.

    Flexor Pollicis Longus Trigger Point Treatment

    For optimal outcome, trigger points need to be treated for 1-2 minutes throughout the day. To learn how to find and treat TrPs TWD 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.

    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:

    • The pain in the thumb caused by the muscle is known as weeder’s thumb because it is often seen in gardeners and horticulturists
    • Massage therapist, physical therapist and doctors often have problems with this muscle because of the pincer compression that is used for treatment and diagnoses

    Flexor pollicis longus muscle pain and symptoms can be similar to, contribute to, and be affected by these medical diagnoses:

    • Carpal Tunnel
    • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
    • C5 C6 C7 or C8 radiculopathy
    • Dislocation of the first finger
    • Gout

    Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the flexor pollicis longus


    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.