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Opponens Pollicis Muscle
Muscular System

Opponens Pollicis Muscle

Musculus opponens pollicis

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Quick Facts

Origin: Tubercle of trapezium bone and flexor retinaculum of hand.

Insertion: Anterolateral aspect of body of first metacarpal bone.

Action: Opposes thumb towards other fingers.

Innervation: Recurrent branch of median nerve (C8-T1).

Arterial Supply: Superficial palmar branch of radial artery and princeps pollicis artery.

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The opponens pollicis muscle originates from the:

- tubercle of trapezium bone;

- flexor retinaculum of hand.


The fibers of the opponens pollicis muscle travel inferolaterally to the thumb and insert onto the anterolateral aspect of the body of first metacarpal bone.

Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The opponens pollicis muscle is found in the thenar compartment of the hand. It is a short, quadrilateral type of skeletal muscle. It is located:

- anterior (superficial) to the first metacarpal bone;

- posterior (deep) to the abductor pollicis brevis muscle;

- lateral to the flexor pollicis brevis muscle.

Actions & Testing

The opponens pollicis muscle opposes the thumb towards the fingers. This movement consists of:

- medial rotation of the first metacarpal bone (of thumb) at the first carpometacarpal joint;

- flexion of the first metacarpal bone at the first carpometacarpal joint (Moore, Dalley and Agur, 2009).

The opponens pollicis muscle can be tested by opposing the thumb to the little finger against resistance (Sinnatamby, 2011).


Moore, K. L., Dalley, A. F. and Agur, A. M. R. (2009) Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Sinnatamby, C. S. (2011) Last's Anatomy: Regional and Applied. ClinicalKey 2012: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

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