What is Flexor Carpi Radialis and What is its Function?

When taking about the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle, anatomically this muscle is quite thin when compared to the other muscles of the body. Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle is located in the forearm anteriorly. The Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle originates in the humerus epicondyle meaning that this muscle is in close proximity to the wrist and the surrounding areas. One can easily see this muscle with the naked eye while flexing the wrist. When talking about the course of this muscle, this muscle moves through the outer part of Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscle and enters the base of index finger. When talking of innervation of this muscle, it is innervated by the median nerves. Blood is supplied to the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle by the radial artery. The function of Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle is to promote flexion of wrist and playing an important role in abduction of the wrists and the hands. Any injury or damage to this muscle may result in decreased ability to flex or abduct the wrist or the hand. In case of a damage or injury to the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle, there are different easy methods to treat this condition like gentle range of motion exercises, use of hot or cold compresses, and strengthening exercises. The best thing about the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle is that it is in close proximity to the palm and hence results in significant reduction of the angle between the forearm and thumb.

Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain

Signs and Symptoms of Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain

When it comes to recognizing the signs and symptoms of injury to the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle then the following points may be of great help:

  • Pain being felt at the center of wrist and radiating towards the thumb
  • Any pain with bending or keeping the wrist straight
  • Pain with gripping items like a jar or a glass
  • Pain in the wrist while twisting a doorknob
  • Wrist pain radiating up towards the forearm.

What Can Cause Flexor Carpi Radialis Muscle Pain?

What Can Cause Flexor Carpi Radialis Muscle Pain?

Below mentioned are some of the activities that may result in an injury or damage to the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle:

  • Activities requiring repetitive twisting movements along with having a tight grip can cause damage to the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle
  • Athletes involved in sports like Tennis, squash, or badminton are prone to injuries to the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle.
  • Golfers also are prone to damaging Flexor Carpi Radialis muscles due to having a tight grip on the club.
  • Repairman who frequently loosen or tighten screws can experience pain of the Flexor Carpi Radialis Muscle.
  • People involved in construction or assembling work where they have to tighten a lot of screws on an everyday basis can also cause damage to the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle
  • If there is a direct blow or injury to the wrist or the palm region may also cause Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle to get damaged.

Risk Factors of Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain

Below mentioned are some of the medical condition that can be caused due to an injury or damage to the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle:

  • Golfer's Elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • C5-T1 Radiculopathy
  • Ulnar neuropathy
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Dupuytren contractures.

What is the Treatment for Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain?

When it comes to treating an injured Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle causing pain in the wrist and the adjoining areas the most preferred and recommended way is massaging the injured area or using supports or braces. Massaging can be done either using cold therapy or by utilizing heat. Wrist supports and braces are also quite useful in relieving pain caused due to a dysfunctional Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle. All these treatments have been explained in detail below.

Cold Therapy to Treat Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain: For treating Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle injury and pain using cold therapy, the most recommended treatment is using a Biofreeze gel. This gel has been shown to be quite useful in relieving pain and discomfort caused to Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle. This gel tends to cool the inflamed area quickly and prevents development of swelling due to the cooling effect. Studies have shown that this gel can relieve pain twice more than normal gels and its effect lasts more than nine times than any other cooling gel. To use this gel, gently rub it at the injured side both at the front and back starting just at the elbow going down all the way to the tip of the thumb.

Wrist Ice Wrap to Treat Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain: When an individual has an injured Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle then just treating the thumb pain is not sufficient but the whole muscle needs to be treated. Ice Wrist Wrap has been shown to be quite beneficial for treating flexor carpi radialis injury and pain, as it covers the entire muscle and provides compression and helps in healing of the muscle. To begin with, you can start wearing the wrap for about 20 minutes and then gradually increase the time. You can also adjust the wrap so as to cover the thumb as well. Also helpful can be using a frozen wash rag wrapped around the thumb along with using the wrap as this combination will completely cover the muscle and allow it to heal faster. Additionally, Biofreeze gel can also be applied along with using the wrap for additional comfort.

Wrist-Elbow Wraps to Treat Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain: The majority of the pain felt due to a Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle dysfunction is in the wrist and hand areas, it is also important to treat the muscle right from its origin which is from the elbow for better results. For this, an Elbow Ice Wrap quite a good option to relieve pain caused due to a damaged Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle. This can be used successfully by positioning the wrap around the wrist and base of thumb for relieving the discomfort in the area and gently moving the wrap towards the elbow such that the entire muscle right from the forearm to the wrist and thumb is wrapped. This allows complete healing of the muscle.

Warm Therapy to Treat Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain: There are a lot of gels readily available in the market which can be used to treat Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle pain. Such gels provide required warmth to the muscle which expedites healing process. Arthritis patients can use such gels for instant pain relief. The gel can be applied can be applied on the inside part of the elbow and the wrist region several times a day for maximum benefit. One must make sure to not use heating gels while simultaneously using ice or heat packs as this may lead to blistering of the skin.

Wrist Brace for Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain: Braces also play an important role when it comes to healing a damaged Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle. Most of the times, people with a damaged Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle still use the hand which hampers healing of the muscle thus to avoid that a lot of wrist braces are available so as to prevent motion of the wrist and allowing sufficient time for the muscle to heal.

Arm Compression Sleeves to Treat Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury and Pain: These have also been shown to be quite effective in relieving pain and discomfort caused due to an injury or damage to the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle. These sleeves provide more support to the muscle and prevent it from any reinjury and also help in recovery. It is mostly used by periople who have significant pain affecting their activities of daily living and athletes along with people who use tools quite often in their work.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 25, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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