The thenar eminence is a term given to a muscle group located in the thumb as well as on the palm of the hand. The primary function of the muscle group is to allow for the different types of muscle movements performed by the thumb. The nerve responsible for providing the nerve supply to this area of the body is known as the median nerve.
There are three primary muscles which work together to create the muscle group known as the thenar eminence. The first of these muscles is known as the abductor pollicis brevis. This muscle helps to rotate the thumb. It also helps the thumb to have the ability to move away from the index finger. This muscle is affected when carpal tunnel syndrome is present, preventing pronation of the first finger, otherwise called the thumb.
The flexor pollicis brevis is another muscle making up the thenar eminence. This muscle helps the joints in the thumb to perform such movements as flexing and pronating. The flexor pollicis brevis muscle inserts itself into the base of the first finger.
The third muscle that makes up the group is the opponens pollicis. This is a small, triangle-shaped muscle located in the hand. This muscle works to flex and abduct the first finger, more commonly referred to as the thumb.
Most of the muscles located in the hand receive respective nerve supplies from the ulnar nerve. However, the thenar eminence is supplied by the median nerve. The only other exceptions are the lumbrical muscles, which are responsible for flexing the joints of the fingers.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common medical condition affecting the thenar eminence as well as the surrounding areas. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, located in the hand, becomes squeezed. This pressure prevents the muscles of the hand from working properly, resulting in pain and loss of strength. Often, the symptoms of this condition appear gradually and are most common in vocations such as typing, when repetitive hand or wrist movement is necessary.
There are a variety of treatments available for carpal tunnel syndrome, depending on the severity of the condition as well as the patients' individual response to therapy. If diagnosed early, this condition can often be managed by medication and doctor-supervised medication. In some instances, surgery is chosen as the best treatment option. Complete recovery after surgery is possible, although it generally takes several months for complete healing to occur.