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The hand

The hand (manus) is defined as the distal portion of the upper limb extending from the wrist joint to cover the fingertips. It is consisted of the bony / cartilaginous skeleton, tendons, muscles and connective tissue which create one of the most sensitive part of the human body. The hands are precisely controlled by brain impulses and spinal reflexes that help you with the finest execution of movements. Beyond the anatomic role of capturing the objects, the hand is the tool of human creativity and expression taking part in communication therefore had a great impact on human development. A symbol of strength and tenderness at the same time, which manifestation can be detected in social relationships by far the most beautiful way (let's just think of a parent/child relationship, a "vindicatory hand"). Its complexity is obvious when you think that replacement of the human hand is not yet solved even in the century of robotics and informatics.

Your handspan is the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger on the outstretched hand. 

Anatomy of the hand, including bones, ligaments, joints: (see Fig. 1)


ossa carpi proximalia

  • os scaphoideum

  • os lunatum

  • os triquetrum

  • os pisiforme

ossa carpi distalia

  • os trapezium

  • os trapezoideum

  • os capitatum

  • os hamatum

ossa metacarpi (5)

digiti manus (ossa digitorum manus seu phalanges)

  • pollex (seu digitus primus)

  • index (seu digitus secundus)

  • digitus medius seu tertius

  • digitus anularis seu quartus

  • digitus minimus seu quintus

ossa sesamoidea


Articulatio (art.) radioulnaris (proximalis et distalis)

movements: supinatio/pronatio

Art. radiocarpea (wrist)

(art. ellipsoidea)

Floppy capsule, not so powerful ligaments:

  • lig. collaterale carpi ulnare

  • lig. collaterale carpi radiale

  • lig. radiocarpeum palmare

  • lig. radiocarpeum dorsale

  • lig. ulnocarpeum palmare


  • palmar- or volarflexio (flexio) – dorsalflexio (extensio)

  • radialis abductio – ulnaris abductio

  • passive rotation

Art. mediocarpea et artt. intercarpeae

art. plana / amphiarthrosis (passive displacement)

ligaments: (ligg. intercarpea)

  • lig. carpi radiatum

  • lig. pisohamatum

  • lig. arcuatum carpi dorsale

  • ligg. intercarpea palmaria, dorsalia, interossea

Artt. carpometacarpeae


ligaments: (ligg. carpometacarpea)

  • lig. pisometacarpeum

  • lig. hamatometacarpeum

  • ligg. carpometacarpea palmaria, dorsalia

Art. carpometacarpea pollicis

art. sellaris


  • oppositio – repositio

  • abductio – adductio

  • passive rotation

Artt. intermetacarpeae


passive displacement

Artt. metacarpophalangeae

strong collateral ligaments:

  • ligg. collateralia

  • ligg. palmaria

  • lig. metacarpeum transversum profundum


  • flexio – extensio

  • abductio – adductio

  • passive rotation

Art. metacarpophalangea pollicis

ginglymus (flexio – extensio only about one axis)

Artt. interphalangeae


  • flexio – extensio


1. Between forearm and carpus

  • Lig. collaterale carpi ulnare

  • Lig. collaterale carpi radiale

  • Lig. ulnocarpeum palmare (ulna – os capitatum)

  • Lig. radiocarpeum palmare (radius – os lunatum + os capitatum)

  • Lig. radiocarpeum dorsale (radius – os lunatum + os scaphoideum)

2. ligg. intercarpea

  • Lig. carpi radiatum

  • Lig. pisohamatum

  • Lig. arcuatum carpi dorsale

  • Ligg. intercarpea palmaria, dorsalia, interossea

3. ligg. carpometacarpea

  • Lig. pisometacarpeum

  • Lig. hamatometacarpeum

  • Ligg. carpometacarpea palmaria, dorsalia

4. ligg. metacarpea

  • Ligg. metacarpea palmaria, dorsalia, interossea

  • Ligg. metacarpea transversa proff. (art. metacarpophalangea!)

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