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Interossei, Lumbricales & Abductor digiti Pain & Trigger Points

The Interossei, Lumbricales and Abductor digiti minimi are muscles of your hand and often cause pain when they are tense or carry trigger points.

However, you can do something about these muscular problems. You can eliminate them with a self-massage.

I’ll show you how to do it on this page. You will also learn …

  • what exact pains these muscles can cause.
  • where they are located.
  • why they cause problems at all.
  • how to feel them.
  • how to massage them.

Please don’t be afraid of the Latin muscle names. They sound a bit confusing at first, but you will quickly feel familiar with them.

Furthermore, it is not important to know these names or to be able to pronounce them. It’s more about being able to massage them, and that’s exactly what I’m teaching you on this page!

It’s worth staying on this page!

1. Pain Patterns, Symptoms & Differential Diagnoses

The interosseous muscles can be divided into posterior (dorsal) and anterior (palmar) parts.

However, the pain images triggered are largely identical.

1.1 Pain zones of the first interosseous

The first two interossei (between thumb and index finger) can cause pain in the following places of the hand.

  • Pain along the outside of the index finger
  • Pain in the “lower” part of the index finger
  • Pain deep in the palm or palm of the hand
  • Pain on the back of the hand
  • Pain on the outside and top of the little finger.

Note: If you have pain in your palm, you should also look at the Palmaris longus. This muscle is almost always involved in such pain, if it is muscular in nature.

1.2 Pain zones of the remaining Interossei and Lumbricales muscles

The interossei and lumbricales between the other four fingers have almost identical pain zones, so I won’t distinguish them.

Pain caused by trigger points in these muscles always occurs on the side of the finger to which they are attached.

1.3 Pain zones of the Abductor digiti minimi

Trigger points in the Abductor digiti minimi can cause pain on the upper and outer side of the little finger.

1.4 Symptoms & other complaints

Besides the pain, trigger points in the muscles can lead to stiff fingers and disturb the (fine) motor function of the hand. This means that you may have problems with …

  • Writing.
  • buttoning of a shirt etc.
  • every gripping movement.
  • etc.

Your finger joints can also hurt. In this case, the pain does not originate from the joint but from the muscle.

2. Origin & Insertion

Simply put, the Interossei and Lumbricales lie between your metacarpal bones.

The Abductor digiti minimi lies on the outside of your hand.

3. Function

The functional interaction of these muscles is very complicated. Therefore, I list only the individual functions of these muscles.

This is enough for your basic understanding, which is why we are content with it.

3.1 Functions of the Interossei

The interossei bend the base joints of the fingers and stretch the distal finger joints. They also spread the fingers apart and press them against each other. Last but not least, they rotate your fingers to a small extent.

  • Flexion in the metacarpophalangeal joints
  • Extension of the distal joints
  • Abduction / Abstraction (especially when fingers are stretched)
  • Adduction / pressing (especially when fingers are stretched)
  • Rotational movements of the fingers
1

Neutral position

2

Flexion or flexion in the metacarpophalangeal joint of the finger

3

Spreading the fingers

3.2 Functions of the Lumbricales

The lumbricales bend the metacarpophalangeal joints while simultaneously stretching the distal joints of the hand.

3.3 Function of the Abductor digiti minimi

This muscle spreads the little finger away (abduction) from the hand.

4. Overload & Trigger Point Activation in the Interossei, Lumbricales and Abductor digiti minimi

Trigger points in these muscles are mainly caused by active overload.

These can be found above all in sports or during strenuous work.

All activities in which you exercise a strong pincer grip or perform such a grip repetitively can overload these muscles.

Some examples:

  • Pinching in climbing
  • Intensive massaging
  • Carpentry work
  • Nail pulling during the manicure
  • etc.

5. Palpation

To feel the muscles, you need to feel different areas.

1

Feel the metacarpal bones on the back of your hand.

2

Use your thumb and index finger to grasp the area between these bones.

3

Bend your fingers at the metacarpophalangeal joint.

  • Try to feel how the muscles tense up during this movement and “glide” under your fingers.
  • As soon as you feel these muscles, try to feel their course between the middle bones of the hand.

5.2 Palpation of the Abductor digiti minimi

  • Place your index finger on the outside of your hand.
  • Spread the fingers of your hand apart, especially the little finger.
  • Try to feel the muscle that tenses under your index finger every time you spread it.

Also try to feel the course of the muscle, from your little finger down to your wrist.

6. Self-massage of the Interossei, Lumbricales and Abductor digiti minimi

For the self-massage of these muscles you can use your fingers or a very small massage ball. The Massage with a ball has the advantage that you will protect your fingers and that you can massage yourself longer and more often.

In addition, a very intensive work is possible without tiring your fingers.

As a massage technique you can use the following techniques:

  • Ischemic compression
  • Pressure motion technique
  • Precise massage screeds

On this page I show you the precise massage strokes with the fingers.

6.1 Self-massage of the Interossei and Lumbricales

  • Use your thumb and index finger to grasp the area between your metacarpal bones like forceps.
  • Search for painful tensions by putting the muscles under pressure.
  • Massage any tension with small rolling movements.
  • Roll them back and forth a few times between your thumb and index finger.
  • Proceed in this way with the entire space between two metacarpal bones or with the remaining spaces.

References

  • Calais-German, Blandine. Anatomy of Movement. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993. Print
  • Davies, Clair, and Davies, Amber. The Trigger Point Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide For Pain Relief. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., Print
  • Simons, David G., Lois S. Simons, and Janet G. Travell. Travell & Simons’ Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1999. Print.
  • Schünke, Michael., Schulte, Erik, and Schumacher, Udo. Prometheus: Lernatlas der Anatomie. Stuttgart/New York: Georg Thieme Verlag, 2007. Print