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Anatomy of the Hand

The hand is composed of many different bones, muscles, and ligaments that allow for a large amount of movement and dexterity. There are three major types of bones in the hand itself, including the following:

Illustration of the anatomy of the hand
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  • Phalanges - the 14 bones that are found in the fingers of each hand and also in the toes of each foot. Each finger has three phalanges (the distal, middle, and proximal); the thumb only has two.

  • Metacarpal bones - the five bones that compose the middle part of the hand.

  • Carpal bones - the eight bones that create the wrist. The carpal bones are connected to two bones of the arm, the ulnar bone and the radius bone.

Numerous muscles, ligaments, and sheaths can be found within the hand. The muscles are the structures that can contract, allowing movement of the bones in the hand. The ligaments are fibrous tissues that help bind together the joints in the hand. The sheaths are tubular structures that surround part of the fingers.

Online Resources

American Society for Surgery of the Hand  http://www.assh.org/public/handanatomy/pages/default.aspx
American Society for Surgery of the Hand  http://www.hand-surg.org/PUBLIC/HANDANATOMY/Pages/default.aspx

© 2000-2011 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.