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Flexor pollicis brevis muscle
The muscles of the left hand. Palmar surface. (Flexor pollicis brevis visible at center right, near thumb.)
Latin musculus flexor pollicis brevis
Gray's subject #126 461
Origin trapezoid, flexor retinaculum
Insertion    thumb, proximal phalanx
Nerve median nerve, deep branch of ulnar nerve (medial head)
Actions Flexes the thumb at the first metacarpophalangeal joint
Antagonist Extensor pollicis longus muscle, Extensor pollicis brevis muscle

The flexor pollicis brevis is a muscle in the hand that flexes the thumb. It is one of three thenar muscles. It has both a superficial part and a deep part.


The muscle

The muscle's superficial part arises from the distal edge of the flexor retinaculum of the hand and the tubercle of the trapezium, a bone in the wrist. It passes along the radial side of the tendon of the flexor pollicis longus, and, becoming tendonous, is inserted into the radial side of the base of the proximal phalanx of the thumb; in its tendon of insertion there is a sesamoid bone.

The deeper (and medial) portion of the muscle is very small, and arises from the ulnar side of the first metacarpal bone between the oblique part of the adductor pollicis and the lateral head of the first dorsal interosseous muscle, and is inserted into the ulnar side of the base of the first phalanx with the adductor pollicis.

The deep (medial) part of the flexor brevis pollicis is sometimes described as the first palmar interosseous muscle. When this muscle is included, the total number of palmar interossei is four. Otherwise, there are only three palmar interossei.



The flexor pollicis brevis is mostly innervated by the recurrent branch of the median nerve (C8, T1). The deep part is often innervated by the deep branch of the ulnar nerve.

Blood Supply

The flexor pollicis brevis receives its blood supply from the superficial palmar arch.


The flexor pollicis brevis flexes the thumb at the first metacarpophalangeal joint.

Additional images

External links

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained within it may be outdated.


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