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Opponens pollicis

The opponens pollicis (Latin: musculus opponens pollicis) is a short intrinsic muscle of the hand. It is located on the lateral (radial) side of the palm and participates in forming the thenar eminence. Therefore, together with the flexor pollicis brevis, adductor pollicis and abductor pollicis brevis, the opponens pollicis is also known as one of the four thenar muscles. The opponens pollicis extends between the trapezium (carpal bone) and the first metacarpal bone. It lies inferior to the abductor pollicis brevis and lateral to the flexor pollicis brevis muscle.

Opponens pollicis


Trapezium bone, flexor retinaculum

InsertionBase of 1st metacarpal bone
ActionThumb opposition
InnervationRecurrent branch of median nerve (C8, T1), deep terminal branch of ulnar nerve (C8, T1)
Blood supplySuperficial palmar arch



The opponens pollicis muscle originates from the flexor retinaculum and trapezium bone.



The opponens pollicis inserts on the base of the first metacarpal bone.



The opponens pollicis muscle provides the opposition of the thumb at the first carpometacarpal joint.



The opponens pollicis is innervated by the recurrent branch of the median nerve (C8, T1) and the deep terminal branch of the ulnar nerve (C8, T1).


Blood supply

The opponens pollicis muscle receives arterial blood supply from the superficial palmar arch that is mainly formed by the radial artery.