Extensor carpi radialis brevis origin, nerve supply and its role in lateral epicondylitis

Soubhagya R. Nayak, Lakshmi Ramanathan, Ashwin Krishnamurthy, Latha V. Prabhu, Sampath Madhyastha, Bhagath Kumar Potu, Anu Vinod Ranade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Lateral epicondylitis (LE) or tennis elbow has been the subject of concern during the last 60 years, but the pathogenesis of the LE remains unclear. The LE can be due to the tendinogenic, articular or neurogenic reasons. Numerous theories have been put fourth in the recent past, out of which one of the most popular theories is that the condition results from repeated contraction of the wrist extensor muscles, especially the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) which may compress the posterior branch of the radial nerve (PBRN) at the elbow during pronation. We studied 72 upper limbs (36 formalin-Wxed cadaver) for the origin, nerve supply and the course of PBRN in relation to the ECRB as one of the goal for the present study. The possible presence of an arch of the ECRB around the PBRN was also observed and recorded. The nerve to ECRB was a branch from the radial nerve in 11 cases (15.2%); from the PBRN in 36 cases (50%) and from the superWcial branch of the radial nerve in 25 cases (34.7%), respectively. The ECRB had a tendinous arch in 21 cases (29.1%); a muscular arch in 8 (11.1%) cases and the arch was absent in 43 cases (59.7%). When the ECRB had a tendinous or muscular arch around the PBRN, it may compress the same and this condition may worsen during the repeated supination and pronation as observed in tennis and cricket players. The presence of such tendinous or muscular arch should be considered by orthopedicians and neurosurgeons, while releasing the PBRN during LE surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-211
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical and Radiologic Anatomy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 03-2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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