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

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Anterior compartment of the forearm

Learning objectives

This comprehensive study unit will help you to:

  1. Identify the muscles of the anterior compartment of the forearm and how they are arranged into groups.
  2. Learn the attachments and innervation of these muscles.
  3. Become familiar with the function of each muscle.

Watch video

The forearm is divided into anterior and posterior compartments. The muscles of the anterior compartment, also known as the flexor-pronator muscles, are divided into two groups:

  • Superficial group: Pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, palmaris longus and flexor digitorum superficialis muscles.
  • Deep group: Flexor digitorum profundus, flexor pollicis longus and pronator quadratus muscles.

These muscles act on different joints of the upper limb, enabling movements of the forearm, hand and fingers. Most of the anterior muscles are innervated by the branches of  the median nerve. The exceptions are the flexor carpi ulnaris, which is supplied by the ulnar nerve, and the flexor digitorum profundus, which is innervated by branches of both the median and the ulnar nerves.

The following video tutorials will help you learn the anatomy of the anterior muscles of the forearm.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the video about the anterior muscles of the forearm, test your knowledge by taking our quiz.

Or check out this fully customizable quiz for a broader overview of the elbow and the forearm region:

Browse atlas

Review each anterior muscle of the forearm individually by browsing through our atlas gallery:


Key facts about the anterior compartment muscles of the forearm
Superficial group Pronator teres muscle
Flexor carpi radialis muscle
Flexor carpi ulnaris muscle
Palmaris longus muscle
Flexor digitorum superficialis muscle
Deep group Flexor digitorum profundus muscle
Flexor pollicis longus muscle
Pronator quadratus muscle
Innervation Median nerve (except for flexor carpi ulnaris and the ulnar half of flexor digitorum profundus which are supplied by the ulnar nerve)
Function Movements (flexion, abduction, adduction, pronation) of the forearm, hand and fingers

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Continue your learning

Now that you are familiar with the anterior muscles of the forearm, you can continue your learning by taking a look at the posterior muscles of the forearm and the neurovasculature of the forearm:

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