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Adductor pollicis muscle

Adductor pollicis muscle
The muscles of the thumb. (Adductor pollicis transversus is red band at bottom, and adductor pollicis obliquus is red band immediately above it.)
Front of the left forearm. Deep muscles. (Adductor pollicis visible at bottom center.)
Latin musculus adductor pollicis
Gray's subject #126 462
Origin: Transverse head: anterior body of the third metacarpal
Oblique head: bases of the second and the third metacarpals and the adjacent trapezoid and capitate bones
Insertion: medial side of the base of the proximal phalanx of the thumb and the ulnar sesamoid
Nerve: deep branch of the ulnar nerve (T1)
Action: adducts the thumb at the carpometacarpal joint
Antagonist: Abductor pollicis longus muscle, Abductor pollicis brevis muscle
Dorlands/Elsevier m_22/12548366

The adductor pollicis muscle is a muscle in the hand that functions to adduct the thumb. It has two heads: transverse and oblique.



Oblique head

The oblique head (occasionally known as adductor obliquus pollicis) arises by several slips from the capitate bone, the bases of the second and third metacarpals, the intercarpal ligaments, and the sheath of the tendon of the flexor carpi radialis.

From this origin the greater number of fibers pass obliquely downward and converge to a tendon, which, uniting with the tendons of the medial portion of the flexor pollicis brevis and the transverse head of the adductor pollicis, is inserted into the ulnar side of the base of the proximal phalanx of the thumb, a sesamoid bone being present in the tendon.

A considerable fasciculus, however, passes more obliquely beneath the tendon of the flexor pollicis longus to join the lateral portion of the flexor pollicis brevis and the abductor pollicis brevis.

Transverse head

The transverse head (also known as adductor transversus pollicis) is deeply seated.

It is triangular, arising by a broad base from the lower two-thirds of the palmar surface of the third metacarpal bone; the fibers converge, to be inserted with the medial part of the flexor pollicis brevis and the oblique head into the ulnar side of the base of the proximal phalanx of the thumb.


The radial artery passes between the two heads, travelling from the back of the hand into the palm, where it forms the deep palmar arch.


The adductor pollicis is innervated by the deep branch of the ulnar nerve.


Adduction of the thumb is bringing it back into the plane of the palm of the hand from its previously abducted position. This muscle, however, also brings the thumb to the side of the palm and index finger.

Froment's Sign is used to test for a compromised adductor pollicis muscle.

Additional images

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Adductor_pollicis_muscle". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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