Extensor retinaculum (wrist)

Last revised by Raymond Chieng on 5 May 2023

The extensor retinaculum of the wrist is the broad ligamentous sheet located at the dorsal aspect of the wrist and functions to keep the extensor tendons in alignment and prevent bowstringing during movement.

Gross anatomy

It is obliquely oriented and attaches proximally to the lateral surface of the distal radius towards the styloid process and distally attaches to the pisiform and triquetral bones 4. It does not attach to the distal ulna thereby allowing greater movement of the extensor tendons with respect to the radius regardless of the degree of supination. 

Several septae dive deep to the distal radius from the extensor retinaculum, dividing the dorsal wrist into 6 extensor compartments.

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