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Muscles of the hand: want to learn more about it?

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Muscles of the hand

Learning objectives

This study unit will help you to:

  1. Categorize the muscles of the hand into 5 groups
  2. Name the thenar and hypothenar muscles of the hand
  3. Get familiar with the main functions of the muscles of the hand

Watch videos

Although the hand largely outsources the strength needed for a handgrip to the muscles of the forearm, it employs a vast number of smaller muscles that enable it to perform the fine, dexterous movements unique to the human hand. These muscles, sometimes referred to as the intrinsic muscles of the hand, all originate and insert within the hand region. The muscles of the hand are divided into 3 groups: the thenar, metacarpal, and hypothenar muscles. The metacarpal muscles, sometimes referred to as the intermediate muscles of hand, can be further subdivided into the dorsal interossei, palmar interossei and lumbrical muscles. All of these groups of muscles are formed based on their own individual set of attachments, supply and functions.

To start learning about these muscles and their characteristics, watch the following video.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the video, solidify your understanding of the muscles of the hand by testing yourself with the following quiz!

Of course, muscles are only one piece of the puzzle! Here you can customize your own quiz and get a broader array of questions about the anatomy of the wrist and hand.

Browse atlas

Summary

Key points about the muscles of the hand
Metacarpal muscles Dorsal interossei: flexion and extension of fingers 2-4
Palmar interossei
: flexion and extension of fingers 2, 4 & 5
Lumbricals
: flexion and extension of fingers 2-5
Thenar muscles Abductor pollicis brevis: Thumb abduction
Adductor pollicis
: Thumb adduction
Flexor pollicis brevis
: Thumb flexion
Opponens pollicis
: Thumb opposition
Hypothenar muscles Abductor digiti minimi: Abduction, flexion and extension of little finger
Flexor digiti minimi
: Flexion, lateral rotation and opposition of little finger
Opponens digiti minimi
: Flexion, lateral rotation and opposition of little finger
Palmaris brevis
: Tightens palmar aponeurosis, tightens grip

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