Anomalous Forearm Muscles and Their Clinical Relevance

J Hand Surg Am. 2018 May;43(5):455-463. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2018.02.028. Epub 2018 Mar 27.


Despite their relatively low prevalence in the population, anomalous muscles of the forearm may be encountered by nearly all hand and wrist surgeons over the course of their careers. We discuss 6 of the more common anomalous muscles encountered by hand surgeons: the aberrant palmaris longus, anconeus epitrochlearis, palmaris profundus, flexor carpi radialis brevis, accessory head of the flexor pollicis longus, and the anomalous radial wrist extensors. We describe the epidemiology, anatomy, presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of patients presenting with an anomalous muscle. Each muscle often has multiple variations or subtypes. The presence of most anomalous muscles is difficult to diagnose based on patient history and examination alone, given that symptoms may overlap with more common pathologies. Definitive diagnosis typically requires soft tissue imaging or surgical exploration. When an anomalous muscle is present and symptomatic, it often requires surgical excision for symptom resolution.

Keywords: Anatomy; forearm; hand; muscle; variant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Forearm / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / abnormalities*
  • Musculoskeletal Abnormalities / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Physical Examination