Fun Fact: Palmar Aponeurosis


Anatomy def: Fan-shaped sheet of dense fibrous tissue beneath skin of palm. Fibers flare from apex at wrist to bases of the four fingers. 

Outlander Def: Tough layer of Claire’s trembling palm as it cups two rings: Frank’s gold and Jamie’s silver.  My precious! Gah!

Learn about the palmar aponeurosis in Anatomy Lesson #23, Harming Hands – Helping Hands – Healing Hands.

Palmar aponeurosis, also known as palmar fascia, is anatomically complex consisting of a sheet of connective fibers that converge near the distal wrist crease and radiate to the bases of the fingers (see below figure). It attaches to muscles, ligaments, digital sheaths and a forearm tendon (palmaris longus).

Function of palmar aponeurosis is mechanical. It firmly attach­es to the palmar skin allowing it to:

  • cup
  • improve the grip
  • protect underlying tendons and muscles

Slow thickening and shortening of  the palmar aponeurosis is a condition known as Dupuytren’s Contracture. It is more common in folks with Northern European ancestry.

Try this: Bring flexed (bent) fingers and thumb towards each other to form a cup in palm of hand. Tense the hand and tap the palm with fingers of the opposite hand.  It should feel tense and tight. This is the palmar aponeurosis. Good job!

Read about Steven Bonnet’s attack on the Frasers in Herself’s fourth big book, Drums of Autumn. The palmar  aponeurosis helps Claire cradle those precious rings in the palm of her hand:

I twisted my gold ring off, hands trembling both with fear and rage. The silver one was harder; it stuck on my knuckle as though reluctant to part from me. Both rings were damp and slippery with sweat, the metal warmer than my suddenly chilled fingers.

“Give ’em up.” The man poked me roughly in the shoulder, then turned up a broad, grubby palm for the rings. I reached toward him, reluctantly, rings cupped in my hand—and then, with an impulse I didn’t stop to examine, clapped my hand to my mouth instead.

See Claire’s  moment of decision in Starz episode 401, America the Beautiful:  to swallow or not to swallow, that is the question? Swallow, lass!

Photo Credits:

Starz; Cunningham’s Textbook of Anatomy, William Wood & Company, 1914.