Pronator Teres: Learn Your Muscles

You may not be familiar with your pronator teres, but it’s one of the muscles that you use to pour liquid. Any time your arm moves from palm up to palm down, you use this muscle. Plus, it helps you bend your elbow. Here’s more about this small (but important) muscle.

Location

pronator teres

Thanks to University of Washington Radiology for the image.

The pronator teres has two points of origin. One is called the humeral head because it originates on the humerus. Specifically, it originates on the common flexor tendon from the medial epicondyle of the humerus. Remember, the humerus is your upper arm bone, and the epicondyles are the bony nubs that can be at either end of a bone. In this case, the point of origin is above the lower epicondyle that’s closer to the midline of the body.

The second point of origin of the pronator teres is called the ulnar head because of its origin on the ulna. Specifically, it originates on the medial side of the coronoid process of the ulna. According to the dictionary, the coronoid process is “a projection from the front of the ulna forming part of the articulation of the elbow.”

Both points of origin of the pronator teres insert on the middle third of the lateral surface of the radius.

So, if you extend your right arm and turn your palm to face up, the pronator teres runs from just above your elbow toward the middle of your body on a diagonal path to the middle third of the outside of your forearm.

Function

As the pronator teres works, it pronates your forearm. This means that it helps your forearm move from palm up to palm down.

It also assists in bending your elbow, which is also known as elbow flexion. This muscle is particularly helpful when you’re pouring a liquid or turning a doorknob.

Common Dysfunction

Pronator teres injuries are not terribly common although they may happen to individuals who play sports that involve rotating the forearm. These sports include, but are not limited to, cricket and golf.

It’s also possible that people with a repetitive motion job (like in a factory) could injure this muscle, depending on their particular task.

Restoring or Maintaining Health

If you feel like you have injured or torn your pronator teres, contact your doctor. A doctor can order the necessary imaging, medicine, and therapy to get you on your way to recovery.

For those who are wanting some tips to help keep this muscle healthy and functional, I have some ideas. It’s true that the pronator teres isn’t a large muscle that’s involved in tons of activity, but you can still stretch and strengthen it.

When we rest in Savasana with our palms turned toward the ceiling, this is a prontator teres stretch. The elbows are straight and the palms are facing up. You can also get a stretch if you place your arms in a similar position while practicing Navasana. Another suggestion is to place your hands with the palms up while you’re in Sukhasana.

Finding work for pronator teres is relatively easy. We strengthen this muscle whenever we practice Plank, Crow pose, Downward facing dog, Puppy pose, Sphinx pose, Dolphin pose, to name a few.

More Information

I consulted The Concise Book of Muscles by Chris Jarmey. Recently, the book was revised and is in its third edition. I love this book as a quick go-to guide for easy-to-understand anatomy.

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 teres? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi! I'm Sarah, and I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. When I'm not working with clients, I'm researching the best ways to get rid of pain. Do you want to learn how to practice yoga and Pilates safely in your own home? Or, do you want to know all my tips and tricks for pain relief? Join my mailing list and receive free goodies to help you.

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