Extensor digitorum muscle

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Extensor digitorum muscle
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Posterior surface of the forearm. Superficial muscles. (Extensor digitorum communis visible at center.)
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Transverse section across the wrist and digits. (Ext. dig. communis labeled at bottom center.)
Latin musculus extensor digitorum
Gray's subject #125 451
Origin: lateral epicondyle (common extensor tendon)
Insertion: 2nd and 3rd phalanges
Artery:
Nerve: posterior interosseous nerve
Action: extension of hand and fingers
Antagonist: Flexor digitorum superficialis muscle, Flexor digitorum profundus muscle
Dorlands/Elsevier m_22/12548891

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The Extensor digitorum (Extensor digitorum communis) arises from the lateral epicondyle of the humerus, by the common tendon; from the intermuscular septa between it and the adjacent muscles, and from the antebrachial fascia.

Origin, insertion, and relations

It divides below into four tendons, which pass, together with that of the Extensor indicis proprius, through a separate compartment of the dorsal carpal ligament, within a mucous sheath.

The tendons then diverge on the back of the hand, and are inserted into the second and third phalanges of the fingers in the following manner.

Opposite the metacarpophalangeal articulation each tendon is bound by fasciculi to the collateral ligaments and serves as the dorsal ligament of this joint; after having crossed the joint, it spreads out into a broad aponeurosis, which covers the dorsal surface of the first phalanx and is reinforced, in this situation, by the tendons of the Interossei and Lumbricalis.

Opposite the first interphalangeal joint this aponeurosis divides into three slips; an intermediate and two collateral: the former is inserted into the base of the second phalanx; and the two collateral, which are continued onward along the sides of the second phalanx, unite by their contiguous margins, and are inserted into the dorsal surface of the last phalanx. As the tendons cross the interphalangeal joints, they furnish them with dorsal ligaments.

The tendon to the index finger is accompanied by the Extensor indicis proprius, which lies on its ulnar side.

On the back of the hand, the tendons to the middle, ring, and little fingers are connected by two obliquely placed bands, one from the third tendon passing downward and lateralward to the second tendon, and the other passing from the same tendon downward and medialward to the fourth.

Occasionally the first tendon is connected to the second by a thin transverse band.

Action

The Extensor digitorum communis extends the phalanges, then the wrist, and finally the elbow.

It acts principally on the proximal phalanges, the middle and terminal phalanges being extended mainly by the Interossei and Lumbricales.

It tends to separate the fingers as it extends them.

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

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