Palmaris Longus: Muscle Pain & Trigger Points

The palmaris longus is a muscle of your forearm that spans from your elbow to your inner hand.

If it is too tense or harbors trigger points, it can trigger pain in the hand that feels like stitches.

Surely this is an aggravating condition, but with a self-massage you can relieve this pain.

All you need to do, is to learn to feel and massage the muscle.

If you are only interested in practical applications and in getting rid of your pain, jump straight to the feel and massage part.

Otherwise, take some time and read the whole page. It will give you a deeper understanding on this muscle and why it might trouble you.

1. Pain Patterns & Symptoms

1.1 Pain patterns

If trigger points in this muscle are present, they can cause pain in the inner hand and forearm.

Contrary to the deep tissue pain that is usually caused by trigger points, pain from this muscle has a prickling sensation.

The deeper the red in the picture, the more common it is to feel pain in the respective area if trigger points in this muscle are present.

1.2 Impaired or painful movements

If you have trigger points in this muscle, you might not only feel pain in your hand, but also soreness whenever you to use it.

This means all the muscles’ functions, cupping the hand and bending it at the wrist, might be impaired and painful, respectively.

In order to free yourself from this pain and trigger points, learn to feel and then to massage the muscle.

Self-massage is really the best way to get rid of too much muscle tension and trigger points.

2. Attachment Points of the Palmaris Longus

The palmaris longus muscle runs from your medial epicondyle – inner side your elbow – to the inner side of your hand, where it forms the palmar aponeurosis/fascia – not shown in the picture below –.

The X displays the area that is common for trigger points to develop.

3. Function of the Palmaris Longus

The function of this muscle is to cup your hand and to assist flexion/bending of your wrist.

1

Tightening of the palmar aponeurosis and cupping of the hand.

2

Flexion at the wrist.

4. Trigger Point Activation of the Palmaris Longus

Trigger points in the palmaris longus develop, like in all other muscles, if you mechanically overload it.

This overload can be repetitive use of the muscle or external forces acting on it.

Examples:

  • any work that requires repetitive or forceful gripping and cupping of the hand – plumbing, screw driving, gardening, opening jar tops, … –
  • falling on the bent wrist. Here the muscle gets abruptly stretched.
  • using a cane that pressurizes the hand punctually.

I want to relieve my pain

5. Palmaris Longus Muscle: Palpation

The easiest way to feel and distinguish the palmaris longus from your other forearm muscles is by feeling it during contraction.

1

Press your thumb against your other 4 fingers and slightly bend your wrist.

You will recognize a very prominent tendon “popping” out of your wrist.

That's the tendon of your palmaris longus. Put a finger of your opposite hand on that tendon.

2

Now repeatedly press your fingers and thumb together and feel it moving.

3

Slowly move down your forearm and try to make out where the tendon merges into the muscle – about halfway down your forearm –.

6. Self-Massage of the Palmaris Longus Muscle

For the massage I recommend using a massage ball.

  • Search for a tender spot and then focus your massage only on that area.
  • You are likely to find tender spots on the upper part of the muscle and its attachment point at your elbow.
  • As soon as you find one, massage over it for 10 – 15 times with slow and precise strokes.

6.1 Massage with a ball

  • Place the ball on the muscle, lean against a wall and then roll over the tender spots.
  • Experiment a little bit with your body positioning in order to find the most convenient position.
  • Keep in mind to massage yourself on a frequent basis.
  • Once a week won’t do the job.

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