Cut carefully through the flexor retinaculum and examine the contents of the carpal tunnel (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4). It contains one nerve, the median nerve, and the four tendons of the flexor digitorum superficialis muscle, the four tendons of the flexor digitorum profundus muscle, and the tendon of the flexor pollicis longus muscle. Confirm the function of these tendons by pulling on them and noting the effect that this has on the various digits distally.
As the flexor tendons pass through the carpal tunnel to reach the hand, they are surrounded by synovial sheaths which allow the tendons to move freely during movements of the fingers. Attempt to identify the synovial sheaths (Figure 8.5).The carpal tunnel is clinically important because the median nerve which passes through it may be compressed and lose its function.
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