Extensor Indicis: Learn Your Muscles

Inside: You may have never heard of the extensor indicis, but it’s one of the muscles directly responsible for the function and movement of your hand and wrist.


You may have never heard of the extensor indicis, but it’s one of the muscles directly responsible for the function and movement of your hand and wrist. Specifically, it helps you extend your pointer finger and wrist. Here’s more about this important hand and wrist muscle.


extensor indicis

Thanks to Orthobullets for the image.

According to the Flash Anatomy Muscle Flash Cards, the origin of the extensor indicis is on the “dorsal surface of [the] distal half of [the] ulna.” When you break that down, the dorsal surface is the back of the ulna. The distal half is the halfway point that is further away from the midline of the body.

Extensor indicis inserts via the pointer finger extensor digitorum tendon. This insertion point is on the back of the hand near the middle knuckle of the pointer finger.


The extensor indicis has two main functions. First, it extends all the phalanges of the pointer finger. The phalanges are the long bones that are in your finger and hand.

Second, the extensor indicis assists in wrist extension. Wrist extension is when you bend your wrist backward like when you’re getting your hands ready for Plank.

Common Dysfunction

If your extensor indicis is not quite working as it should, you might notice that you have pain or difficulty performing the muscle’s actions. Muscle dysfunction might also show up as pain or difficulty performing the opposite actions. This means that you might have trouble extending your pointer finger or your wrist.

Restoring or Maintaining Health

Any time you think that you have injured or torn a muscle, you need to contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor can order all of the appropriate imaging, medicine, and therapy necessary for you to heal as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

However, if you want to keep the extensor indicis healthy, I have some suggestions. For optimal muscle health, you want to both strengthen and stretch the muscle. To strengthen this muscle, you should practice extending your pointer finger and wrist.

To stretch, you want to perform the exact opposite actions. Allow your wrists to flex and your pointer finger to curl toward your palm. These strengthening and stretching exercises aren’t glamorous, but they’ll help keep your extensor indicis healthy.

More Information

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.

Also, I found a really great website that explains and illustrates the different movements of the wrist. Check out ergovancouver.net.

Do you have any other suggestions for strengthening or stretching the extensor indicis? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.