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Palmaris Longus - It Can Still Have a Purpose March 11, 2013
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Harrison Vaughan, PT, DPT, Cert. SMT About the Author
Harrison Vaughan, PT, DPT, Cert. SMT

Provided by In Touch Physical Therapy Blog


Palmaris Longus

In anatomy, physical therapists learn the palmaris longus muscle really does not have a purpose.  It is absent in 14-19% of the population and if absent, does not typically make a difference in function.  So, what good is it? Read on.

I am currently rehabilitating my first CMC arthroplasty.  Quite a privilege as most physical therapists who treat this condition are certified hand therapists, which I am not.  A pearl for working in a rural area.

One of the techniques if conservative treatments fail is replacing the trapezium with a ‘balled up’ palmaris longus, known as the Anchovy Athroplasty.


Want to know if you have a palmaris longus? Touch the pads of your first and fifth fingers and flex your wrist.  It will be very visible as shown below (Thanks to ODU DPT 2013 intern James Myatt!).

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Or maybe yours is gone and looks like the pictures below.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

The palmaris longus, even though absent in many people, can still serve a purpose.

Harrison Vaughan
Harrison Vaughan, PT, DPT, Cert. SMT is a physical therapist at In Touch Therapy in South Hill, Virginia.  His clinical interests involve orthopedic and manual physical therapy, including clinical diagnostic tests.  He enjoys treating the spine but his dynamic work setting in a rural area provides an opportunity to treat a wide variety ranging from pediatrics to the neurological population.  Harrison received both his Bachelors of Science degree and Doctor of Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Vaughan is certified in Spinal Manipulative Therapy through the Spinal Manipulative Institute and American Academy of Manipulative Therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association with a special subsection in Sports and Orthopedics and currently assists as Co-Chair of Technology position of the Virginia Physical Therapy Association.  More of Harrison’s blogs can be found at

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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