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Posterior compartment of the forearm: want to learn more about it?

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Posterior compartment of the forearm

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Name the superficial muscles of the posterior compartment of the forearm.
  2. List the deep muscles of the posterior compartment of forearm.
  3. Become familiar with the attachments, innervation and function of each muscle of the posterior compartment of the forearm.

Watch videos

The forearm is divided into anterior and posterior compartments. The posterior compartment of the forearm contains 11 muscles, most of which share a common function of extending the hand and digits and are thus commonly called the extensor muscles of the forearm. The muscles of the posterior compartment of forearm are further subdivided into a superficial and deep layer. Most of the muscles in the superficial layer have a common origin at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus, while the muscles of the deep layer typically originate from the distal part of the ulna.

Find out more about the origin, insertion, neurovascular supply and function of these muscles by watching the video below.

For a more detailed overview of the superficial and deep muscle groups of the posterior compartment of the forearm, take a look at their respective videos below!

Take a quiz

After watching the video you should be ready to test and solidify your knowledge of the posterior muscles of the forearm with the following quiz!

If you want a broader focus of questions, customize your own quiz by clicking on the link below.

Browse atlas

Examine the posterior muscles of the forearm individually in this gallery.

Summary

Key points about the posterior compartment muscles of the forearm
Superficial layer Brachioradialis, extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi radialis brevis, extensor digitorum, extensor carpi ulnaris and extensor digiti minimi
Deep layer Supinator, abductor pollicis longus, extensor pollicis brevis, extensor pollicis longus and extensor indicis
Innervation Radial nerve (C5-C8)
Functions Mainly extension of hand and digits

Well done!

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Continue your learning

Now that you know all about the posterior muscles of the forearm you can complete your knowledge by learning about the anterior muscles of the forearm and the neurovascular supply of the forearm.

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