Tendonitis of the FCU and ECR - Handstands hurt!

by Anna
(Bristol, UK)


I have been suffering with wrist pain for nearly two years now. It started when I first started Personal Training for a living. I think it was brought on from a sudden increase in activity (constant picking up and gripping of heavy weights).

It started as a pain down my flexor Carpi ulnaris so I responded by strapping it up and not using in it for a while. It has come and gone since then.

Sometimes, if I do a sudden impact exercise like a cartwheel, the pain is when I unload and feel like cramp in my FCU, I can’t bend my wrist for a minute or two as pain shoots down the tendon, I feel like I need to shake it. Then it suddenly goes.

I have been seeing a Physio and we have been stretching the wrist in all directions and we have also been doing ultrasound and massage on the FCU to break up any scar tissue.

But my main problem now is in the top side of my wrist when I do any hyperextension and axial loading. I have researched into this and it could be described as dorsal wrist impingement, or it could be tendonitis of the Extensor Carpi Radialis.

It feels like a pinching of some inflammation between the arm bones and wrist. It is brought on by press ups, dips, handstands. I don’t even need to hyper extend for it to hurt. Does this sound like I have tendonitus of the ECR as well?

I have tried dry needle therapy to relax the tight muscles of the forearm and anti inflammatory drugs, neither of which have cured it.

As I have had this inflammation so long, do you think ice will help? When is it time to start strengthening as well as stretching? Won't strengthening aggravate it more?

I know it is confusing as I am talking about the ECR and the FCU...

Sorry this is so long!

Many thanks


Joshua Answers:

Hi Anna.

Yes, I think strengthening will aggravate it.

And, strength isn't the problem. The problem is muscles and connective tissue are TOO TIGHT.

This causes fast acceleration
of the Pain Causing Dynamic and the already in place Process of Inflammation.

See this page to learn what exactly is causing your symptoms: Wrist Tendonitis Symptoms

It's great that you're interested and looking for specific diagnoses. But taking it to a very simple level, things are TOO TIGHT. And not even the muscles. Muscles will take care of themselves. But if they're constricted in connective tissue they -can't- lengthen and relax.


So ultimately you have to learn How To Reduce Inflammation. And you need to open up the too tight tissue.

If somebody says that your joints are being compressed and need to be adjusted, that's probably true, to the extent that too tight muscles and connective tissue compress joints.

So if your wrist joint is compressed because the tissue on your forearm side is pulling the tissue on your hand side into each other, it's going to stay compressed until you open up that tissue.

And obviously when you extend your wrist and or load up your wrist with weight, pain signal is going to get triggered.


1. Learn how to reduce inflammation.

2. Increase your magnesium intake: Magnesium for Tendonitis

3. Wouldn't hurt to get my Reversing Wrist Tendonitis ebook

Tendonitis is not high tech, but it does take something to reverse. And specifically the RIGHT something.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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