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Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics

Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis   


- See: Forearm Extensors :

- Anatomy:
    - origin: lateral condyle of humerus;
    - insertion:
           - this tendon inserts into the base of 3rd metacarpal and is in direct relationship with the ECRL, which inserts into the base of the 3rd metacarpal;
    - action:
           - extension and abduction of the hand at the wrist;
           - ECRB is prime dorsiflexor of the hand;
    - synergists: ECRL, ECU;
    - nerve supply:
           - PIN (C6 > C7, C8) supplies ECRB & supinator muscles before entering arcade of Froshe;
           - PIN may be compressed by the tendinous origin of the ECRB;
           - w/ humerus frx need to r/o radial nerve palsy (1st nerve branches distal to frx site will be ECRB & supinator);

- Discussion:
    - pathology of origin of ECRB may cause tennis elbow syndrome, however, PIN syndrome may also cause "lateral epicondylitis;
    - osteophyte from 2nd & 3rd carpal metacarpal joint (capal boss) is just beneath ECRB & ECRL, and may cause a tendonitis;

- Rupture of ECRB:
    - important consideration for wrist prosthesis in R.A.;
    - balance of extensor tendons is of primary importance, esp ECRB;
    - w/o this tendon (due to rupture), there is no effective wrist extension;
    - do not confuse w/ rupture of ECRL  or  EDC;
         - if active wrist extension does not go beyond neutral, or if there is significant palmar carpal subluxation, integrity of ECRB should be questioned;
    - tendon transfers  have been successful, and therefore, when ECRB tendon is not intact, arthrodesis is indicated



Tennis elbow. The surgical treatment of lateral epicondylitis.

Lateral extensor release for tennis elbow. A prospective long-term follow-up study.

Microscopic histopathology of chronic refractory lateral epicondylitis.

Extensor carpi radialis brevis, an anatomical analysis of its origin

Anatomic Factors Related to the Cause of Tennis Elbow



Original Text by Clifford R. Wheeless, III, MD.

Last updated by Data Trace Staff on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 1:55 pm