On this page I will guide you through the insertions, functions, pain zones, overload movements, impaired movements, palpation and massage of this muscle.
In a nutshell: All the information you need to understand why this muscle might be troubling you and how to deal with it.
If this muscle contains trigger points or is too tight, it gets tender and can trigger pain at the lateral epicondyle of your humerus – outer side of your elbow joint – which is often diagnosed as tennis elbow pain.
Furthermore, it might leave you with pain at the backside of your hand – area between thumb and index finger –.
If this muscle is excessively tight and/or contains trigger points, you might feel pain when using the muscle and even afterwards at rest.
Thus, all the movements that occur with the activities displayed above may be painful and/or impaired.
The supinator muscle has attachment points at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus, at the ventral and lateral ligaments that connect the ulna and the radius and the ventral part of the capsule of the humeroulnar joint.
It wraps around the radius and inserts at the ulna.
The X in the picture displays the area where trigger points commonly develop in this muscle.
As the name already suggests, this muscle supinates the forearm, which means it turns it in a way that the thumb is facing outwards.
If there is no external resistance and/or the elbow is straight, it is the main supinator of your forearm.
As soon as the elbow gets flexed and if any external resistance is added, the biceps brachii will support supination of the forearm – this is only the case if the elbow is at least slightly bent –.
Furthermore, this muscle supports elbow flexion.
Maximal activation of this muscles occurs with …
In both cases, the reason for the strong involvement of this muscle is that the biceps brachii cannot support the movements as it can only supinate the forearm if the elbow is at least slightly bent, and flex the elbow if the forearm is supinated.
This muscle can get overloaded if activated maximally or in a repetitive manner. As a result, trigger points and pain can develop.
Maximal activation occurs, as already stated, if the elbow gets flexed while the forearm is pronated, or the forearm gets forcefully supinated while the elbow is straightened.
Among others, examples for those movements are:
For prevention, it is advisable to supinate and bend your elbow while carrying objects.
Surely, if this is not suitable, it also helps to switch your working hand every now and then.
Feeling this muscle is a little tricky as it lies deep in the forearm and is covered by the brachioradialis muscle. Still, it is possible.
Still, it is possible.
Note: You might have to readjust your fingers slightly while doing the pronation/supination movement.
It is normal to “feel around” for some time when searching for a muscle, especially when you are new to this.
You might need to practice a little bit until you find this muscle, but with some patience it will happen.
For massage I recommend using your fingertips or a massage ball.
Another possibility is to massage the supinator with a ball.