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Snapping ECU Tendon

Snapping ECU tendon or wrist subluxation is a condition that causes the joint to “snap”, “pop”, or “click” with rotation. Most times this condition doesn’t affect the lives of individuals besides the occasional snapping sensation it causes. The ECU tendon in the wrist is held together by the ligaments of the wrist and when one of them becomes damaged, it effects the other. The interconnectedness of the wrist is its strength and weakness alike.


When the tendon in the wrist that connects the joint to the bone is damaged, it begins to rub over the bone or muscles in its way (instead of moving fluidly) and causes the “snapping” or “popping” sensation. The tendon moves in this irregular way because its foundation, the ligaments, have too become damaged or lax. If these can be fixed or strengthened then the whole joint will be able to return to its normal function.


Typical symptoms of this condition is the clicking in the wrist, pain due to this clicking, and a possible reduction in the wrist’s range of motion.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There is no one single test to diagnose the problem. Sometimes visual and physical exams can be enough to determine the condition. When this is not enough physicians turn to X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and even ultrasound to help with diagnosis. Whenever a diagnosis is determined, a few treatment options become available to the patient.

Physical therapy is a very popular choice of treatment for this condition. This therapy aims to help strengthen and stretch the muscles of the joint. This may help with some of the pain associated with the condition and may revive some lost range of motion but does not fix the problem of damaged or otherwise loose ligaments and muscles.

Some physicians believe that corticosteroid or other anti-inflammatory medicines are a good way to treat this condition. These medications give a pain relief effect and reduce any inflammation if it is present. This method masks the problem of the snapping tendon and does not heal it. This simply causes the patient to treat the condition as if it is not hurt, further causing later onset pain and joint degradation.

If serious enough, arthroscopic surgery may be warranted. In this surgery they shave bone, and cut, reattach, or remove ligaments. This surgery is supposed to alleviate the patient of their pain and restore a better range of motion but usually causes chronic pain and further debilitation due to the nature of the surgery. All of these options provide possible short-term relief but never fix the problem. This condition can be fully treated and permanently cured with the alternative option of Prolotherapy.

Prolotherapy for Snapping ECU Tendon

Prolotherapy is an alternative non-surgical procedure that uses natural proliferants to aid the body to heal itself. Comprehensive Hackett-Hemwall Prolotherapy injections use dextrose solutions to induce the bodies natural immune response; inflammation. When this occurs, the body is sending immune and repair cells to the site of injury and attempts to heal it. If patients are in need of a stronger solution (depending on severity of their case), then they can be injected with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or stem cells from adipose or tibia bone marrow as well. These injections help in retightening the ligaments, rebuilding cartilage, and just overall muscle and bone repair of the area.

Prolotherapy patients usually receive four to six treatments in order to obtain their desired results. This is a quick outpatient procedure that can naturally, quickly, and permanently cure someone of the symptoms of snapping ECU tendon.