Google+

Forearm Stretches


I regularly prescribe forearm stretches to patients with tendonitis and other repetitive strain injuries of the forearm. Tightness in the wrist flexors or extensors can cause microtearing, inflammation, tendon breakdown, and weakness in those that are in occupations that require a lot of gripping, vibrating tools, keyboard work, and repetitive wrist and hand movements.

Contents

Muscles of the forearm
Benefits of stretching the forearm
The stretches

Muscles of the Forearm

Superficial Extensors
Extensor Digitorum Extends fingers II-V
Extensor Digiti Minimi Extends fifth finger
Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Extends the wrist and helps to adduct it

Superficial Flexors
Pronator Teres Pronates the forearm
Flexor Carpi Radialis Flexes the wrist and helps to abduct it, synergist  in elbow flexion
Palmaris Longus Weakly flexes the wrist
Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Flexes the wrist and helps to adduct it, stabilizes wrist during finger extension

Deep Extensors
Abductor Pollicis Longus Abducts and extends thumb, abducts wrist
Extensor Pollicis Longus Extends thumb at metacarpophalangeal joint
Extensor Pollicis Brevis Extends thumb at metacarpophalangeal joint
Extensor Indicis Extends the second finger

Deep Flexors
Flexor Pollicis Longus Flexes interphalangeal joint of thumb, also flexes wrist
Flexor Digitorum Profundus Flexes wrist and distal interphalangeal joints

Intermediate Layer of Flexors
Flexor Digitorum Superficialis Flexes middle and proximal phalanges in fingers II to V, also flexes wrist

Deepest Layer
Pronator Quadratus Pronates the forearm
Supinator Supinates the forearm

Lateral Group
Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Extends the wrist, helps to abduct it
Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Extends the wrist, helps to abduct it
Brachioradialis Flexes the elbow, assists to pronate from the supinated position and supinates from the pronated position
forearm anatomy anteriorly


forearm anatomy posteriorly

Benefits of Forearm Stretches

The benefits 
  • Maintain a balance between the length of the flexors and the extensors -Muscle imbalances can result in overuse injuries, tendonitis, tenosynovitis, and bursitis
  • Maintain mobility of tendons within and around the wrist and forearm - In the wrist there are a lot of moving parts. Stretching prevents adhesions amongst these tendons if inflammation is introduced through microtrauma or macrotrauma

Forearm Stretches

Wrist Extensors

Since the wrist extensors (extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi radialis brevis) originate from above the elbow you must straighten your elbow in order to lengthen these muscles fully. With your elbow straight and palm facing down toward the floor use your other hand to pull your other hand down and out.
wrist extensor stretch

Wrist Flexors

Since the wrist flexors (flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor carpi radialis) originate from above the elbow you must straighten your elbow in order to lengthen these muscles fully. With your elbow straight, palm facing up, use your other hand to pull that hand down toward the floor.
wrist flexor stretch

Thumb Extensors/Abductors

Hold onto your thumb firmly with your other four fingers. While keeping your wrist in a neutral position, turn your wrist down toward the floor.
thumb stretch
Return to Top