Pronator Quadratus: Learn Your Muscles

The pronator quadratus is a relatively small muscle on the underside of your wrist that pronates your forearm. This means that it turns your hand from palm up to palm down. If this muscle is dysfunctional, it can be responsible for wrist pain and poor rotation of the wrist. Read below to learn more.


The origin of the pronator quadratus is on the distal fourth of the anterior surface of the ulna, and the insertion is on the distal fourth of the anterior surface of the radius. Basically, this muscle runs like a little muscular wrist band that connects the radius to the ulna.

pronator quadratus

Thanks to University of Washington Radiology for the image.

On a side note, if you ever wondering what counts as the "anterior surface" of an arm bone, think of the Da Vinci drawing, The Vitruvian Man. In this drawing, the man's palms face forward. Although most of us spend the day with our palms facing our sides, palms forward is what the medical community considers neutral.


The pronator quadratus does what you might expect--it pronates the forearm. As you might remember, to pronate the forearm means to move the arm from palm up (or facing forward) to palm down (or facing behind you).

Common Dysfunction

If you have a dysfunctional pronator quadratus, you might have pain or difficulty rotating from anatomical neutral to a palms down position. For this particular muscle, any pain or dysfunction that you might feel would be on the underside of your wrist as opposed to up by your elbow or at the shoulder.

Because both of these joints also help with pronation, it can be difficult to determine exactly where the weak or tight muscle exists.

Restoring or Maintaining Health

If you think that you have torn or injured your pronator quadratus, contact your doctor. He or she can order the appropriate imaging, therapy, and medicine to help you recover as quickly as possible.

If you're looking for ideas to help keep this muscle healthy and strong, I just have one idea. Because this muscle is responsible for pronation at the wrist, I suggest you stabilize your arm by placing it on a counter or table. Start palm up, and rotate your arm so that it moves to palm down. Then, rotate back to your starting position. Mindfully rotate back and forth, ensuring that you're moving from the wrist.

More Information

For those who are more interested in technical terminology and smaller muscles, I recommend Flash Anatomy Muscles Flash Cards. Any time a client comes to me with pain, I use these flash cards.

Do you have any other suggestions for strengthening or stretching the pronator quadratus? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.