Biometry of thenar muscle origins on the flexor retinaculum

Jeremy Loss, Zong Ming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The transverse carpal ligament (TCL), the main part of the flexor retinaculum, serves as an anchor for the thenar muscles: abductor pollicis brevis (APB), superficial head of the flexor pollicis brevis (sFPB), and opponens pollicis (OPP). Biomechanically, the thenar muscles rely on their TCL anchoring to transmit muscle contractions distally for thumb force and motion production, and reciprocally, muscle contraction interacts with the TCL at the proximal end through the origins. However, scarce knowledge exists regarding the distribution pattern of the thenar muscle origins. The purpose of this study was to understand the anatomical interface between the thenar muscles and TCL by examining the origin distributions of the individual muscles. Ten cadaveric specimens were dissected for digitization of the muscle origins and TCL volar surface. Digitized data were used for mesh reconstruction and calculation of surface areas and centroids. The origin areas for APB, sFPB, and OPP were 105.8 ± 30.3, 64.6 ± 15.2, and 245.9 ± 70.7 mm2, respectively. The surface area of the TCL was 386.2 ± 86.9 mm2. The origin areas of APB and OPP on the TCL were comparable, 18.4 ± 4.8% and 17.3 ± 9.6% of the TCL area, respectively. The origin locations for APB, sFPB, and OPP were in proximal-radial quadrant of the TCL, on distal aponeurosis outside the TCL, and around the ridge of trapezium, respectively. The knowledge of the anatomical interface provides a foundation for the understanding of biomechanical interactions between the muscles and ligaments and pathomechanical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1180
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • anatomy
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • hand
  • ligaments
  • muscles
  • skeletal muscle fibers
  • thumb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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