What Causes Palmaris Longus Pain?
Palmaris longus pain can manifest itself in many ways. On the less extreme end, it can present itself as a mild tingling.
In more extreme cases, it can result in a pounding or aching pain that doesn’t go away.
Patients often report experiencing pain in the palm of the hand (typically everywhere except the thumb).
This symptom can also cause pain when cupping your hands. In this article, we’ll talk about the potential causes and treatment options for palmaris longus pain.
Palmaris Longus Anatomy
Before talking about the causes and treatments, let’s briefly discuss the anatomy of the palmaris longus muscle.
This will give you a better idea about what’s causing your pain. The palmar longus connects to the little finger side of the elbow.
Keep in mind that this muscle is absent in approximately 14% of the population. The muscle is responsible for the following:
- Bending the wrist downwards
- Bending the forearm
- Cupping the hand
For the people who do have this muscle, an injury or strain can prevent you from doing many things.
The pain can also ruin your quality of life. For this reason, it’s recommended that you treat your palmaris longus pain as soon as possible.
What Causes Palmaris Longus Pain?
There are many different activities that can lead to an injured palmaris longus muscle. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Falling: Whenever you fall and land on your hands, it can cause a lot of stress on the palmaris longus muscle.
- Repetitive Motion: If you’re using hand tools or garden tools constantly, then this can lead to your symptom.
- Crutches: Believe it or not, extended use of crutches can have a negative effect on the palmaris longus muscle.
Below, we’ll talk about some less common causes. Just know that in most patients, pain in this muscle is due to physical activity.
Palmaris Longus Pain and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
People with carpal tunnel syndrome often report having pain in the palmaris longus muscle.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome exactly? It’s basically a condition in which there’s a lot of physical pressure on the median nerve.
The pressure is usually due to inflammation. As the pressure increases, it can lead to pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands and wrist.
Illnesses like diabetes and/or hypothyroidism can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Women who are pregnant, as well as people who use their hands for work (writers, etc.) are also susceptible.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Another possibility is that you’re suffering from peripheral neuropathy. This is a condition caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system.
It’s estimated that nearly 20 million people in the United States suffer from this condition.
When peripheral nerves get damaged, it can lead to chronic tingling and/or pain.
There are many causes for peripheral neuropathy which we won’t talk about in this article. If you think you have it, schedule a visit with your doctor.
Additional Facts About The Palmaris Longus Muscle
Here are some additional facts to know about this muscle:
- A dysfunction in this muscle can lead to something called “Dupuytren’s Contracture”, which causes the fingers to curl into the palm of the hand.
- Many patients with this symptom get diagnosed with “Cervical Radiculopathy”, which is a clinical description of symptoms caused by compressed cervical spinal nerves.
- This muscle is often used in tendon grafts due to its convenient length and diameter. The palmaris longus tendon can replace other tendons that have ruptured.
To date, researchers aren’t entirely sure why this muscle is more common in some ethnic groups and not others.
How to Treat Palmaris Longus Pain
In some patients, palmaris longus pain spontaneously goes away after a few days to a week.
In others, the pain remains chronic. Here are some ways to treat the pain:
- OTC Pain Relievers: NSAIDs like ibuprofen can be effective at providing you with temporary relief. If you’re on any medications, talk to your doctor before taking them.
- Cold/Warm Therapy: Some patients report experiencing temporary pain relief when trying cold/warm therapy. Use 2-3 times throughout the day for maximum results.
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Start consuming fewer animal-based products and more whole food plant-based products. This should help reduce inflammation in the body.
How long will the pain last? It depends on the cause. People with carpal tunnel syndrome, for instance, may experience pain indefinitely.
If your pain is due to physical trauma (like falling for example), then the pain should subside quickly (2-5 days).
This is if you don’t overuse the muscle and allow it to heal naturally.
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