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Flexor Carpi Radialis Pain

The flexor carpi radialis muscle is a relatively thin muscle that’s located in the forearm.

It lies close to the wrist, and it’s easy to see this muscle with the naked eye.

The muscle extends down to the hand where it enters the hand via the base of the index finger. The median nerves are the nerves that run through it.

If you’re currently experiencing flexor carpi radialis pain, then this article is for you. We’ll show you various ways to treat it.

What Causes Flexor Carpi Radialis Pain?

Flexor Carpi Radialis PainIf this muscle gets damaged, then it will likely result in a reduced ability to move your hand.

While it’s possible to treat the pain, it’s better to avoid it in the first place. Here are some potential triggers to think about:

  • Repetitive Activities: Any physical activity that involves repetitive movement can cause tiny “tears” in your muscle, resulting in pain.
  • Specific Sports: If you play sports tennis or squash, then this can put a lot of stress on your flexor carpi muscle. Golfers are also at a higher risk.
  • Repairman: Are you a repairman who frequently uses screwdrivers or other small tools? If so, this might be the reason you’re in pain.
  • Direct Injury: Direct, physical trauma to this muscle or the surrounding nerves can result in pain as well as loss of motion.

This type of injury is also relatively common in people who have jobs in the construction industry.

Since these people use their muscles repetitively, it can result in a strain and/or injury.

Bottom Line: Flexor carpi radialis pain can be the result of direct injury, certain sports (golf, tennis, etc.), or repetitive muscular movements.

Symptoms of Flexor Carpi Radialis Injury

Here’s how you can tell that you’ve injured the flexor carpi radialis muscle:

  • Pain when straightening the wrist
  • Pain when bending the wrist
  • Pain when picking up items (like a mug for example)
  • Pain when turning a doorknob
  • Wrist pain that radiates towards the forearm

If you’re suffering from any of these, then it’s likely the flexor carpi radialis muscle that’s been affected. The degree of pain will vary from person to person.

In some people, the intensity is so high that they can’t even turn a doorknob. In others, it’s not that serious.

Either way, it’s important that you’re able to recognize these symptoms.

Bottom Line: Pain when straightening or bending the wrist, as well as pain when turning a doorknob, are telltale signs of a flexor carpi radialis injury.

Risk Factors

Major risk factors include golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and C5-T1 radiculopathy.

Keep in mind that these are simple risk factors. They don’t “guarantee” that you’ll develop anything.

For example, someone with golfer’s elbow won’t necessarily have the symptoms discussed above.

Just know that if you have these risk factors, you’re at a higher risk for developing flexor carpi radialis pain.

Bottom Line: Major risk factors include carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, golfer’s elbow, and C5-T1 radiculopathy.

Treatment Options

Since this isn’t a medical emergency, you can safely experiment with various treatment options at home first.

If those don’t work, or if the pain doesn’t go away, then go to a doctor.

Treatment options include:

  • Cooling Gels: This treatment option is relatively easy to do and can provide you with some temporary relief. There are specialized gels on the market that can help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • 20-Minute Ice Sessions: If you don’t want to use ice gels to treat your flexor carpi radialis pain, then try an ice wrap. We recommend applying the wrap for about 20 minutes, take a 20-minute break, and then re-apply.
  • Warming Gels: Like cold therapy, there’s also warm therapy. There are many heating gels on the market that are inexpensive and that work quite effectively. They’re worth a shot and save money compared to a doctor’s visit.
  • Wraps: You may want to consider using a wrist-elbow wrap for relief. This will position your wrist in such a way that it prevents you from moving it much. This will promote healing and take away the pain.

Some patients have also found relief in arm compression sleeves.

These sleeves are designed to support the muscle so that you don’t reinjure it. As the muscle stabilizes, it will promote healing.

These sleeves are great if you’re experiencing flexor carpi radialis pain but you still need to do physical work (not recommended but in some cases, it’s necessary).

Bottom Line: Treatment options include arm compression sleeves, wraps, warming gels, 20-minute ice sessions, and cooling gels.

When Should You Schedule a Visit to See a Doctor?

Firstly, ask yourself: how serious is the injury? If it’s relatively minor, then know it will likely resolve on its own.

If it’s very serious, like a rupture for example, then you should probably see a doctor as soon as possible.

Most cases of flexor carpi radialis pain will go away without you having to do anything.

That is, of course, assuming you don’t reinjure it. Generally, if the pain doesn’t go away within 1-2 weeks, it’s recommended that you see a doctor.

Bottom Line: Most injuries related to the flexor carpi radialis muscle resolve on their own. If they don’t go away in 1-2 weeks, go see a doctor.

Summary

It’s very important that you avoid the repetitive motion activities and/or sports that caused your injury in the first place.

Otherwise, you’re simply going to reinjure your muscle.

Think about it: you can put a Band-Aid on a cut, but if you continually cut at the same spot, then you’re never going to heal.

It’s the same principle with the flexor carpi radialis muscle. The more you use it, the more time it’s going to take for you to heal.

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