The oblique cord of the forearm in man

R. Shane Tubbs, James T. O'Neil, Christopher D. Key, Jessica G. Zarzour, Sarah B. Fulghum, Eugenia J. Kim, Michael J. Lyerly, Mohammadali Mohajel Shoja, E. George Salter, W. Jerry Oakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


There is minimal and often conflicting data in the literature regarding the oblique cord of the forearm. The current study seeks to elucidate further the anatomy of this structure of the upper extremity. In adult cadavers, the oblique cord was observed for and, when found, measurements were made of it. Ranges of motion were carried out while observation of the oblique cord was made. An oblique cord was found on 52.6% of sides. Gantzer's muscle was found on 55% of sides and, when present, had attachment into the oblique cord on five sides. The oblique cord was present on 13 sides with a Gantzer's muscle. Of the 20 sides with an oblique cord, no Gantzer's muscle was found on 10. The mean length of the oblique cord was 3.4 cm. In the majority of specimens, this cord tapered from proximal to distal. The proximal, middle, and distal widths of this structure had means 9, 7, and 4 mm, respectively. The oblique cord was found to travel ∼45 degrees from a line drawn through the ulna and more or less traveled perpendicular to the insertion site of the bicipital tendon. This ligament was lax in the neutral position and with pronation became lax in all specimens. The oblique cord progressively became taut with increased supination from the neutral position and was maximally taut with the forearm fully supinated. Tautness of this cord was also found with distal distraction of the radius. Following the transection of the oblique cord, no discernable difference was observed in regard to maximal supination of the forearm or distal distraction of the radius. No obvious instability of the proximal forearm was found following transection of the oblique cord. Functionally, although the oblique cord may resist supination, it is unlikely that this structure affords significant stability to the proximal forearm, as it was often absent, of a very small caliber, and based on our observations, following its transection, the amount of supination of the forearm did not increase. Moreover, one would expect that this structure would never resist supination alone, as the larger overlying muscles would become taut prior to calling upon the action of this cord. Based on our findings, the function of the oblique cord appears insignificant in providing significant stability to the proximal forearm; however, further investigative studies are now necessary to confirm these data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-415
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 24 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomy
  • Ligaments
  • Radius
  • Ulna
  • Upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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