Extensor Digiti Minimi: Learn Your Muscles
The extensor digiti minimi helps the extensor digitorum to extend the little finger. If you have hand pain, particularly near your little finger, you’ll want to learn more about this assisting muscle.
The origin of the extensor digiti minimi is on the common tendon of the extensor digitorum. So, like the extensor digitorum, the point of origin is on the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. As you may remember, the humerus is your upper arm bone; and the lateral epicondyle is the bony nub at the bottom of your humerus that is further away from the midline of your body.
The insertion of the extensor digiti minimi is on the tendon of the extensor digitorum, near the bottom of the little finger and extending all the way to the tip of the finger. Like the extensor digitorum, this is a dorsal muscle. This means that it runs on the back of your hand.
The extensor digiti minimi extends the little finger where the finger joins the palm. It also can extend the other two joints further up the finger as well as some of the joints within the hand and wrist.
Your extensor digiti minimi might be dysfunctional if you are unable to extend your little finger. When you activate this muscle, your little finger should hinge toward the back of your hand. It may not move a huge amount, however, it should move some. If it doesn’t move, the muscle is dysfunctional. Also, if you experience pain when performing this action, you could have issues with this muscle.
Restoring or Maintaining Health
If you believe you have injured or torn your extensor digiti minimi, you should contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor can order all of the appropriate imaging, therapy, and medicine to help you recover as quickly as possible.
However, if you’re looking for ideas to keep these muscles healthy, I have some suggestions. As always, I recommend that you practice the function of the muscle to strengthen it. Then, perform the opposite movement to stretch it.
For the extensor digiti minimi, this means that you would practice reaching your little finger toward the back of your hand to strengthen this muscle. To stretch it, practice curling your little finger toward your palm. You might also stretch this muscle by rolling the outside edge of your palm on a tennis or lacrosse ball. (Remember, the extensor digiti minimi also extends bones in the hand and wrist.)
For those who are more interested in technical terminology and smaller muscles, I recommend Flash Anatomy Muscles Flash Cards. Any time a client comes to me with pain, I use these flash cards.
Do you have any other suggestions for strengthening or stretching the extensor digiti minimi? Let us know in the comments below.
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