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Supinator Muscle: Elbow and Thumb Pain

The supinator muscle causes elbow pain and pain in the thumb area. It is also a major contributor to tennis elbow.

What are the pain and symptoms associated with the supinator muscle?

  • Pain in the back of the forearm near the elbow
  • Pain in the back of the hand at the base of the thumb
  • Numbness and or tingling in the thumb side of the hand and wrist

Where is the supinator muscle?

The supinator is located on the outside (thumb side)  of the forearm just below the elbow. It connects the upper arm to the lower arm.

What movements does the supinator muscle control?

It turns the palm of the hand upward.

Activities that cause supinator pain and symptoms:

  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Repetitive curls
  • Hoeing a garden
  • Sewing by hand
  • Working at the computer
  • Playing the violin
  • Chefs who stir or whip together ingredients frequently


Supinator Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

You use the supinator when you rotate your arm to turn your palm upward.

Clinical diagnoses to which the supinator muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Lateral epicondylitis
  • Dupuytren's contracture
  • C5 C6 radiculopathy

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the supinator muscle:

Satellite trigger points associated with the supinator muscle:

  • Triceps brachii
  • Biceps brachii
  • Extensor carpi radialis longus
  • Extensor carpi radialis brevis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Brachialis

For detailed anatomy information:  Supinator Muscle Anatomy

Help with Supinator Muscle Injury and Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Extensor 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. If you have recently injured the supinator muscle or have unexplained pain that has just started in the elbow and thumb, use Biofreeze. Rub the gel into the elbow and down the arm to the thumb.

Cold Therapy Compression Sleeve for Elbow, Forearm, Wrist 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 for Post Injury and Chronic Elbow, Wrist and Thumb 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 treat the supinator muscle, apply Sombra to the elbow and forearm just below the elbow to ease the pain.

Hot Cold Pack For Arm, Elbow Wrist Treatment

CorPak Soft Comfort Hot & Cold Pack Wrap is a versatile pack that can be used to treat the upper arm and lower arm, as well as other areas of the body. This pack works well for the supinator as the wrap covers most of the muscle. The pack is filled with pliable gel and has a soft frost free cover that will not irritate your skin. For recent injuries, use it cold to reduce swelling. For older injures or chronic pain use heat to relax the muscles and increase circulation.

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 supinator muscle 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

I like the Kunto Elbow Support Sleeve not only for the excellent support but also because it is comfortable to wear. It provides support without binding or limiting movement and it actually stays in place. The sleeve is available in 4 sizes. If you deal with elbow pain or need some extra support for tennis, golf, or other sports, this sleeve is what you need.

Sizing measuring elbow circumference:

Large:  Over 13"
Medium:  10.5" - 13"
Small: 8.5" - 10.5"
X-Small:  Under 8.5"

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.

Self Treatment For Supinator Muscle Elbow, Forearm, Hand Pain

Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunction in the supinator can contribute to pain in the elbow that can also affect the hand? These symptoms can mimic tennis elbow and carpal tunnel pain.

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 pain and numbness in the hand, it may be trigger points in the supinator muscle 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.