Flexor carpi radialis tendinitis. Part I: Operative anatomy

A. T. Bishop, G. Gabel, S. W. Carmichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The anatomical characteristics of the flexor carpi radialis tendon, the tendon sheath, the tunnel boundaries, and the adjacent structures were examined in twenty-five adult cadaveric specimens. Transverse and sagittal sections of the wrist and forearm, tenograms, and histological sections of the tendon were made from two additional specimens each. The musculotendinous portion of the flexor carpi radialis tendon begins an average of fifteen centimeters (range, twelve to seventeen centimeters) proximal to the radiocarpal joint: the muscular fibers end an average of eight centimeters (range, six to nine centimeters) proximal to the wrist. The synovial sheath extends from the origin to the insertion. The tendon enters a fibroosseous tunnel at the proximal border of the trapezium and is separated from the carpal canal by a thick septum that functions, at its distal border, as a pivot point for the flexor pollicis longus. Within the tunnel, the tendon occupies 90 per cent of the available space and is in direct contact with the slightly roughened surface of the trapezium. The tendon lies within a few millimeters of the distal aspect of the radius, the scaphoid tubercle, the scaphoid-trapezium-trapezoid joint, and the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb. In most patients, the flexor carpi radialis tendon is inserted at three locations. A small slip is connected to the trapezial crest or tuberosity; 80 per cent of the remaining tendon is inserted on the base of the second metacarpal and 20 per cent, on the base of the third metacarpal. The deep palmar arch is located two to three millimeters distal to the insertion of the tendon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1014
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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