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Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle: Thumb Pain

(Last Updated On: August 10, 2018)
Flexor Pollicis Longus Pain Pattern

The flexor pollicis longus muscle can contribute to pain in the tip of the thumb and descend down into the joint.

What Are The Symptoms and Pain Associated With The Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle?

  • 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

Where Is The Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle?

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

What Movements Does the Flexor Pollicis Longus Control?

  • Bends the thumb toward your palm

Activities That Cause Pain and Symptoms of the Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle?

  • 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 ie. bank tellers and cashiers
  • Pulling small weeds that you grip between your thumb and fingers to remove
Items To Help Avoid Further Flexor Pollicis Longus Injury and Reduce Pain:

The My Care Hot/Cold Glove is a good investment for anyone who uses the pincher motion repetitively. Use cold for injury and throbbing pain, heat for aches and stiffness.

If you are an avid gardener chances are you have had problems with stiff fingers. Ergonomic gardening tools can help especially if used to loosen soil before pulling weeds.

Stiff arthritic hands? Injured your thumb? A button hook will help you button up button down shirts and pants with ease. A must have for those with arthritic hands!

Flexor Pollicis Longus Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

You use the flexor pollicis longus muscle to bend the thumb toward the palm.

Interesting Facts About The Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle:

  • Pain 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

Clinical Diagnoses To Which The Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle May Contribute:

  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Gout
  • C8 or T1 Radiculopathy


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

For detailed anatomy information:  
Flexor  Pollicis Longus Anatomy Study





Help with Flexor Pollicis Longus Muscle Injury and Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Flexor Muscles Arm, Elbow, and Hand Injury Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is a cold therapy gel that provides pain relieve for new injuries and is great 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 suffer from arthritis pain like to use Biofreeze on swollen painful joints. To treat the flexor pollicis longus muscle, rub Biofreeze around the elbow, down the forearm and into the thumb.

Cold Compression Therapy

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 bear skin, allowing you to be mobile during treatment. It can be used for most areas of the arms and legs.

Warm Therapy Gel For Flexor Pollicis Longus Thumb and Hand 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 flexor pollicis longus muscle pain apply Sombra all around the elbow and down the front and side of the forearm, into the wrist and thumb area.

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 flexor 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 Gloves For Support, Warmth and Pain Relief

Whether the pain in your hands is caused by 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 are reinforced so that they will not fray with wear or during washing. I like this particular brand because the gloves are easier to get on and off than most other compression gloves. Reasonably priced too!

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.

Self Treatment For Flexor Pollicis Longus Thumb Pain

Do you know that small "knots" or other dysfunction in the flexor pollicis longus muscle can contribute to pain in the tip of the thumb that goes down into the joint? It can also make it difficult and painful to grasp an object or pinch with your forefinger and thumb.

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 pain  in the thumb, it may be trigger points in the flexor pollicis longus muscles. 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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