The thenar muscles are found in the palm of the hand as well as the base of the thumb. The fleshy part of the palm is referred to as the thenar eminence because these muscles lie directly beneath this area. They work primarily to allow the thumb to move in a variety of directions. The muscles included are the abductor pollicis brevis, flexor pollicis brevis, adductor pollicis, and the opponens pollicis.
The abductor pollicis brevis lies just beneath the skin and makes up the majority of the thenar eminence. The role of this muscle is to abduct the thumb. When a muscle is abducted, it is basically moved away from the center of the body. The muscle also helps to extend the thumb.
The next is the flexor pollicis brevis, which works to allow the thumb to flex and rotate. It begins in the wrist and ends in an attachment to the thumb. The median nerve provides the nerve supply for this muscle while the radial artery provides the blood supply.
The adductor pollicis works to adduct the thumb. Adduction is the opposite of adduction, so this muscle moves the thumb toward the sagittal plane of the body. The adductor pollicis consists of two different heads, called the oblique and transverse heads.
The opponens pollicis is a small muscle that helps to oppose the thumb. This action of opposition allows the tip of the thumb to touch the other fingers at their tips. The opponens pollicis inserts into the entire metacarpal bone located in the thumb.
There are a variety of medical conditions which can cause pain in the muscles of the hand, including the thenar muscles. Tendinitis is common in this area due to frequent use of small equipment, such as cell phones. Carpal tunnel syndrome and fibromyalgia are other conditions known to affect this muscle group.
Treatment for pain associated with the muscles of the hand depends upon the specific ailment present as well as the severity of the condition. Exercise and medications are often prescribed to treat the pain. A medical professional should be consulted with any type of unusual pain in this area of the body in order to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.