What Is Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis & What Is Its Function?
The main function of the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle is to help in motion of the hands. To be specific, it facilitates abduction and extension of the hands at the wrist joint.1 This muscle works in coordination with the Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus muscle, which is present in close proximity to this muscle even though the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis is quite short in length and is thicker.
The Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle stems from the lateral supracondylar ridge. This is a narrow raised region of the humerus.1 This muscle enters the third metacarpal of the hand. The blood supply to this muscle is maintained by the radial artery. This muscle is innervated by the radial nerve. The oxygen deficient blood is drained away from this muscle by the radial vein. Any damage to this muscle can be corrected to a degree by simple exercises and forearm conditioning. Some of the exercises are those which resist full extension of the muscle. This includes motions that resist the muscle’s full extension.
Signs And Symptoms of Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle Pain
Some of the signs and symptoms suggesting a damage or injury to the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle include:
- Constant burning and aching behind the hand with the pain at times radiating up the forearm
- An extremely weak grip strength
- Severe pain felt with twisting the wrist
- Numbness and tingling across all the fingers
What Can Cause Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle Pain?
Some of the activities that can cause Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle strain are:
- People involved with repetitive gripping of large heavy tools like a jackhammer can strain the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle.
- People involved with continuous knitting and crocheting are also likely to experience Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle pain
- Sportsmen involved with sports like tennis and golf are also predisposed to injuring this muscle.
- Data entry operators who type for long hours throughout the day can also strain this muscle.
- People working in assembling electronic parts who use screwdrivers repetitively throughout the day can also experience Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle pain.
Risk Factors of Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle Pain?
Some of the medical conditions caused due to Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis pain are:
Treatment of Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle Pain
Cold Therapy: For treating a Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle pain using cold therapy, the most recommended treatment is using a Biofreeze gel. This gel has been shown to be quite useful in reliving pain and discomfort caused due to a strained Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle. This gel tends to cool the inflamed area quickly and prevents development of swelling due to the cooling effect. 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: When an individual has an injured Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle then just treating the thumb pain is not sufficient but the whole muscle needs to be treated. For this the Ice Wrist Wrap has been shown to be quite beneficial, 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: The majority of the pain felt due to Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle strain 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 Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle pain. 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: There are a lot of gels readily available in the market which can be used to treat Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis 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: Braces also play an important role when it comes to healing a strained Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle. Most of the times, people with a Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle pain continue to 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: These have also been shown to be quite effective in relieving Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle pain. 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.
Forearm Band: There are also quite a few elbow bands available which are used for conditions like tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries and have been found to be very useful. An example of it is the BandIT. This wrap is worn by many athletes for protection and prevents repetitive stress injuries and has been found to be extremely useful, although it is not suggested as a long term treatment for muscle damage due to muscle overuse.