Muscles of the Forearm and Hand – Chart

Muscles of the Forearm and Hand Chart for Massage Therapists

Learning the Origins, Insertions and actions of muscles is really just the beginning. Muscles do not move and function as individuals. Repetition is the best way to learn the basics and then your hands on experience with clients will help you put things together.

Forearm and hand    
 MuscleOrigin Insertion Action Notes 
Extensor digitorumCommon extensor tendon from lateral epicondyle of humerusDorsal surface of middle and distal phalanges 2-5 
( four fingers)
Extends four fingers, assists in extension of the wrist 
Pronator quadratus    
Palmaris longusMedial epicondyle of humerusPalmar aponeurosisFlexion of hand and wristFlex wrist against resistance to find tendon.
May be absent in one or both sides in some people.
Flexor digitorum superficialisMedial epicondyle of humerus, coronoid process of ulna, proximal radiusFour tendons into the middle phalanges of fingers 2-5, palmar surfaceFlexes the middle and proximal phalanges of fingers 2-5, flexion of the wrist and forearm.Median nerve and ulnar artery are under origin
Flexor carpi radialisMedial epicondyle of humerusBase of 2nd to base of 3rd metacarpal boneFlexes and abducts the wrist, pronation of the forearm and flexion of the elbow 
Flexor carpi ulnarisMedial epicondyle of humerus, medial olecranon and proximal posterior ulnaPisiform bone Flexes and adducts the wrist and flexes the elbow 
Extensor carpi radialis longusLateral supracondylar ridge of humerusBase of 2nd metacarpal bone dorsal sideExtends and abducts the wrist, flexes the elbow 
Extensor carpi radialis brevisLateral epicondyle of humerusDorsal surface of base of 3rd metacarpal boneExtends and assists in abduction of the wrist 
Extensor carpi ulnarisLateral epicondyle of humerus, posterior border of ulnaBase of 5th metacarpal bone, ulnar sideExtends and adducts the wristTendon runs through a groove between the head of the ulna and the styloid process of ulna
Flexor digitorum profundusAnterior and medial surfaces of proximal ¾ of ulnaFour tendons into bases of distal phalanges on anterior surfaceFlexes distal interphalangeal joints of four fingers, flexes proximal interphalageal and metacarpopphalangeal joints 
Flexor pollicus longusAnterior surface of radius, deep to flexorsDistal phalange of thumbFlexes thumb 
SupinatorLateral epicondyle of humerus, posterior ulnaProximal anterior shaft of humerusSupinates forearm 
Extensor pollicus longus and brevisPosterior surface of radius and ulna, deep to extensorsBrevis –proximal phalange of thumbLongus- distal phalange of thumbExtends the thumb 
Opponens pollicisPalmar retinaculum, trapezium1st metacarpal anterior surfaceOpposition of thumb to each digit.Rotates 1st metacarpal so the thumbnail faces the ceiling when the hand is resting palm up.