Brief Anatomy of Hand – Atlanta Hand Specialist - Hand Surgeons
Fax: (770) 333-7889

Ligaments, Tendons, & Bones! Oh My!

Every time you make a fist or wave goodbye to a loved one, there are several bones, tendons, and ligaments at work in your hand. As one of the most complex and fascinating body parts, each hand is made up of 27 different bones as well as a variety of tendons and ligaments.

Due to the large number of ligaments, tendons, and bones, it’s imperative to choose the expertise of a hand specialist to quickly diagnose conditions of the hand, wrist, thumb, and fingers. Continue reading to learn more about some of the most integral bones, tendons, and ligaments making up the anatomy of your hand.

General Anatomy of the Human Hand

While other mammals have claws, paws, and talons, your hands are distinctly designed to allow you to grasp objects. One of the key distinguishing features of your hands are opposable thumbs. Your hand, is comprised of three distinct areas:

  • The palm of your hand is the central part of the inside region of your hand. The skin on the palm includes tiny dermal papillae, which increases friction. You also have dermal papillae on your fingers and fingertips
  • The dorsal or opisthenar area is the area corresponding with your palm on the backside of your hand.
  • The heel of your hand is at the base of your metacarpal bones. The heel of the hand is the area that sustains the most pressure anytime you use your palm for support.

Bones of the Hand – Carpals, Metacarpals, and Phalanges

All of the bones in your hand work together simultaneously to provide flexibility and support to the soft tissue. The bones in your hand can be divided into three different categories.

  1. Carpal bones are proximal to your body, meaning they are the bones located closest to the wrist. These bones are a set of eight irregularly shaped bones that form the base of the hand.
  2. Metacarpals are found in the palm or middle of the hand. In total, there are five metacarpals, and each one is directly related to a digit.
  3. Phalanges are simply the bones in your fingers. Each of your fingers are comprised of three different phalanges. However, your thumb only has two phalanges.

The Connective Hand Ligaments

The ligaments in your hands are strong bands of tissue that are connected to your bones. Ligaments are responsible for supporting and providing structure to your bones. Each hand is comprised of six major ligaments:

  • Volar Plate is a ligament that connects the middle phalanx on the palm side of the joint to the proximal phalanx. When your finger straightens, the volar plate tightens to keep the joint from bending backward. Complications with the volar plate are commonly associated with Swan-Neck Deformity.
  • Collateral ligaments are located on either side of the thumb and finger joints. These ligaments prohibit sideways movement of the joint.
  • Radioulnar and ulnocarpal ligaments are two sets of ligaments that support the wrist.
  • Volar radiocarpal ligaments are a complex web of ligaments providing support for the wrist on the palm side.
  • Dorsal radiocarpal ligaments support the back of the wrist.
  • Ulnar and radial collateral ligaments are a pair of ligaments that provide stability and bind the bones of the wrist.

The Five Vital Tendons of the Hand

The tendons are bands of connective tissues tasked with attaching bones to the muscle and enabling your muscles to move your bones. The primary tendons in your hand include:

  • Your hand has nine long flexor tendons that pass from your forearm through the wrist’s carpal tunnel.
  • Profundus tendons travel through your wrist and hand on the anterior or palm side. These tendons are responsible for working with the superficialis tendons to flex the MCP joints, PIP joints, and wrist.
  • Similar to the profundus tendons, superficialis tendons travel through the palm side of your hand and wrist and attach to the bases of your middle phalanges. These tendons work with your profundus tendons to flex the MCP joints, PIP joints, and wrist.
  • The extensor tendons are located in your fingers and attach to the distal and middle phalanges. The extensor tendons work to extend the PIP, MCP, and DP joints. Extensor tendons also work to extend the wrist.
  • Abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis are responsible for thumb movement. These tendons run from from the muscles located in the top of your forearm.

Contact Atlanta Hand Specialist

The hand surgeons and physicians at Atlanta Hand Specialist practice exclusively on matters affecting your fingers, thumbs, wrist, and hands. By solely focusing on these extremities, we are able to deliver the highest possible level of care. If you are experiencing any complications with your hand and upper extremities, trust the experts at Atlanta Hand Specialists to facilitate a rapid recovery.

Schedule your appointment online today with Atlanta Hand Specialist.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Do you have pressure on your wrists? Many people have symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome without knowing it. Find out how the condition is caused and what treatment you’ll receive from Atlanta Hand Specialists for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Learn More

Wrist & Hand Fracture

If you have shooting pain in your hand or wrist, you may have a wrist or hand fracture. Fracturing, or breaking, the bones in the wrist or hand is extremely easy because of their size and structure. Read on to learn how wrist and hand fractures are treated by Dr. Patel and the Atlanta Hand Specialists.

Learn More

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is caused by stressing the tendons and getting your thumb or finger stuck in the bent position. Inflammation and localized pressure are common signs for trigger finger. Seek treatment from the Atlanta Hand Specialists about trigger finger and your treatment options available.

Learn More

Ganglion Cyst

Tender lumps found on the hand or wrist can be a cyst. Ganglion Cysts are commonly filled with fluid, and form because of tendon or joint irritation. Find out more about how Ganglion Cysts are treated by the specialists at Atlanta Hand Specialist.

Learn More
More Common Conditions

Featured in These Magazines! (Click to view larger image)