Learn more for less - join today!

Courses for Healthcare and Fitness Professionals




 Thenar Eminence Trigger Points

Opponens Pollicis / Adductor Pollicis

The symptoms caused by trigger points in these muscles are often mistaken for arthritis.






Opponens pollicis: flexor retinaculum. Tubercle of trapezium.

Adductor pollicis: oblique fibers: anterior surfaces of 2nd and 3rd metacarpals, capitate, and trapezoid. Transverse fibers: palmar surface of 3rd metacarpal bone.


Opponens pollicis: entire length of radial border of 1st metacarpal. Adductor pollicis: ulna (medial) side of base of proximal phalanx of thumb.


Opponens pollicis: opposes (i.e. abducts, then slightly medially rotates, followed by flexion and adduction) thumb so that pad of thumb can be drawn into contact with pads of fingers.

Adductor pollicis: adducts thumb. Antagonists: abductor pollicis longus, abductor pollicis brevis.


Opponens pollicis: median nerve (C6, 7, 8, T1).
Adductor pollicis: deep ulnar nerve, C8, T1.

Functional Movement

Examples: picking up a small object between thumb and fingers (opponens pollicis); gripping a jam jar lid to screw it on (adductor pollicis).

Referred Pain

Opponens pollicis: palmar wrist pain at distal radial head and into palmar aspect of thumb.

Adductor pollicis: dorsal and palmar surfaces of thumb, localized around metacarpophalangeal joint and radiating to web of thumb and thenar eminence.




Adductor pollicis Trigger point referred pain

Adductor pollicis - typical referred pain patterns



Opponens Poliicis - typical referred pain pattern

Opponens Poliicis - typical referred pain pattern




“Weeder’s thumb,” thumb pain on activity, difficulty maintaining pincer movement, “texter’s/video gamer’s thumb,” pain sewing/ writing/opening jars, loss of fine motor control (e.g. buttoning, sewing, writing, painting).


Post wrist/thumb fracture, wrist splinting, grasping with thumb, carrying shopping, texting, holding e-reader/tablet, massaging, fine handiwork (e.g. writing, sewing, knitting, artwork, painting, airbrushing), playing musical instruments.

Differential Diagnosis

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Osteoarthritis of thumb (saddle joint). Rheumatoid arthritis. Carpal tunnel syndrome. “Trigger thumb.” Discopathy of distal radioulnar joint. Carpal bones dysfunction. Mechanical dysfunction. Fracture. Subluxation.


Abductor pollicis brevis, flexor pollicis brevis/longus.

Trigger Point Therapy (Self Help)

Self-massage/pressure techniques can be really helpful. Simply locating trigger point and pressing with other thumb may be enough.

Remember to hold trigger point until it softens.

Alternatively, pressure devices can be used (carefully!)



Find a Trigger Point Professional in your area

More Articles About Trigger Points - Hands and Fingers

Trigger Point Therapy Workbooks

Dry Needling for Trigger Points

NAT Professional Courses

Certify as a Trigger Point Therapist

All Online Courses

Education Membership Plans




Trigger Point Therapy Diploma Online Course CEU CPD










FROM $19.95/monthly





This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 






Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

feel good learning
NAT global campus

Learn More for Less

Unlimited access to all courses for just $19.95/mo

Save on Top Rehab Tech

Scraping, a manual, ancient practice where pain points are worked with a gua sha (smooth-edged tool), reportedly increases blood flow by up to 400 per cent more than foam rolling and massage guns. By breaking up old, damaged blood vessels to promote new growth and healing, these tools are useful for getting into the nooks and crannies of a pain point, especially in delicate areas like along the shin muscles and under the foot.

Tim Tian has taken the scraper idea and supercharged it, creating a manual, triangular tool that blends heat and vibration therapy. “Cold blades stiffen muscles, blocking a deep release,” he says.

The heated scraper device takes just three seconds to reach 50ºC. This helps muscles soften, making it easier to massage away tension, increase blood flow and promote healing. The scraper is specially great for alleviating delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the quads, and provides a relaxing switch-up from the foam roller slog.