6. Brachioradialis Self-massage
For massage I recommend using your thumb, elbow or a massage ball.
The brachioradialis is a flexor of your elbow and an extensor as well as a stabilizer of your hand and wrist, respectively.
Especially excessive gripping motions overload the muscle and can trigger pain that is often interpreted as tennis elbow pain.
Beside the pain described above, you might experience pain or movement impairments when…
The main function of the brachioradialis is the flexion of your elbow, especially when your forearm is pronated.
Additionally, it supports the extension of your wrist.
The picture shows the flexion of the elbow with the forearms pronated.
If the forearms were supinated, the palms where facing upwards.
There is a common misconception that this muscle is a supinator of your forearm – hence its “old name” supinator longus -.
The brachioradialis brings your forearm back in a neutral position after it has been supinated or pronated. Thus, it acts like a neutralizer.
EMG studies have shown that it only supports the supination and pronation out of a neutral position if there is additionally external resistance. This is the case when you tighten or loosen up a screw with a screwdriver, for example.
Furthermore, it stabilizes your wrist when gripping something hard. This stabilization work prevents your wrist from bending, which is the motion that the flexors of your hand and wrist would initiate with a gripping motion.
Beside its stabilizing function of the wrist, this muscle also stabilizes your elbow when you are moving it very fast, and high centrifugal forces develop. This might be the case when you perform a hook punch in boxing.
Especially excessive gripping motions are prone to overload the muscle and can to lead to the development of elevated muscle tension, tender and/or trigger points in this muscle.
The reason for this is the already described stabilizing function of the wrist that occurs with a strong grip.
Activities that are very common to overload this muscle are…
Feeling this muscle won’t be a problem for you as it is located superficially on the inner and upper side of your forearm.
Just take your forearm in front of you and make a tight fist with the same hand. Keep your fist strong while you palpate the muscle at the inner and upper side of your forearm.
You can feel its tendon inserting at your upper arm just above your elbow joint.
From there it is easy to feel and follow the muscle belly, which gets thinner and thinner the further you travel down your forearm.
Most of the times you will find tender spots in the upper third of this muscle – also see the X under attachment points -.
Search for those tender spots and massage each of them with slow and precise strokes for about 10 – 15 times. Start the strokes right before a tender spot and stop them right after you passed it.
Keep in mind that most tender spots, especially trigger points, are small and need very accurate massage in order to eliminate them in the long run. So, stay focused and do not just massage around those spots.