What are the Extensor compartments of the wrist?

  • The Extensor compartments of the wrist contain the extensor tendons of the hand. It is subdivided into six compartments.
  • The Posterior Interosseous Nerve is the only nerve found in the dorsal wrist compartments. It is consistently found on the base of the fourth compartment.

Anatomic structures within each dorsal compartments of the wrist:

CompartmentTendonsAssociated Conditions
1– Abductor Pollicus Longus (EPL)
– Extensor Pollicus Brevis (APL)
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
2– Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB)
– Extensor carpi Radialis longus (ECRL)
Intersection syndrome
3– Extensor Pollicis Longus (EPL)Late rupture after closed treatment of distal radius fracture
4– Extensor Digitorum Communis (EDC)
– Extensor Indicis Proprius (EIP)
Extensor tenosynovitis
5– Extensor Digiti MinimiVaughn-Jackson syndrome (initial)
6– Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU)ECU instability
Dorsal Extensor compartments of the wrist
  • The extensor retinaculum provides prevent tendons bowstringing at wrist and should be repaired during surgery. 1
Extensor compartments of the wrist
Extensor Compartment of the wrist (From orthobullets website)