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Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Tendinitis: Symptoms & Treatment

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  • 0:04 Extensor Carpi Ulnaris…
  • 1:23 Symptoms
  • 1:41 Treatment
  • 2:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Extensor carpi ulnaris tendinitis is a fairly common injury for people who play racket sports and golf. If you have ever played these types of sports, or might play in the future, you should definitely take a look at this lesson.

Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Tendinitis

Jennifer is a 37-year-old high school teacher who likes to play tennis on the weekends with her friends. While playing last Saturday, Jennifer started feeling pain in the pinky side of her dominant wrist, and this pain increased anytime she gripped or swung her racket.

Worried about this pain, Jennifer ended her tennis match early and went to her doctor's office to get evaluated. After examining the wrist, the doctor informed Jennifer that she likely had extensor carpi ulnaris tendinitis.

Extensor carpi ulnaris tendinitis is an injury of the wrist in which the tendon of the extensor carpi ulnaris muscle becomes irritated and inflamed. The extensor carpi ulnaris muscle is a long, thin muscle that extends down the outer portion of the forearm and attaches to the base of the pinky bone (5th metacarpal). The tendon of this muscle runs over the pinky side of the wrist. This muscle functions to bend the wrist upward (extension) and toward the pinky (adduction).

Wrist extension and adduction are two motions that are commonly used in golf and racket sports like tennis and racquetball. While playing tennis, a person will repetitively use their extensor carpi ulnaris muscle while swinging the tennis racket. This repetitive motion can eventually put a lot of stress on the tendon of this muscle, causing this tendon to become irritated and inflamed and eventually leading to extensor carpi ulnaris tendinitis.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of extensor carpi ulnaris tendinitis is pain on the pinky side of the wrist, and this pain usually increases when a person grabs something or bends the wrist toward the pinky side of the hand. Other symptoms of this injury include:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Redness
  • Decreased range of motion

Treatment

Treatment for extensor carpi ulnaris tendinitis is usually very simple and involves resting the injured wrist and treating the pain. Resting the wrist will prevent the tendon from becoming further irritated and will allow the tendon to heal. Putting a brace or splint on the wrist can help to ensure that the wrist will not move and further irritate the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon.

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