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Thenar eminence

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 24 Aug 2021

The thenar eminence is the muscular bulge on the radial side of the palm of the hand due to the thenar muscles. Two are innervated by median nerve, and flexor pollicis brevis is innervated by the ulnar nerve. Together the muscle group primarily acts to oppose the thumb. The three muscles are:

​The adductor pollicis muscle is not one of the thenar muscles and - like flexor pollicis brevis muscle - is innervated by the ulnar nerve. 

The three muscles of the thenar eminence with adductor pollicis form the short muscles of the thumb, part of the intrinsic muscles of the hand group.

History and etymology

θέναρ (thenar) is the Ancient Greek word for palm of the hand.

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2
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  • Figure 3: thenar muscles (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 4: intrinsic hand muscles (Gray's illustration)
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