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Anatomy Of Hand

Hand Anatomy

There are eight small carpal bones in the wrist that are firmly bound in two rows of four bones each. The five long, thin metacarpal bones of the palm extend from the carpus to each of the digits of the hand. Each of the digits of the hands contains 3 phalanges except for the thumbs that contain only 2.

More than 30 individual muscles in the hand and forearm work together to achieve these diverse movements. These muscles provide the hands with  flexibility, extremely precise control, and gripping strength that are necessary for activities ranging from writing and typing to producing music and gripping a ball in sports. Muscles in the forearms flex and extend the phalanges by pulling on long tendons that run through the wrist and hand.

The muscles of the hand can be broken down into three main regions: the thenar(lateral or thumb side of the palm), hypothenar (medial or little finger side of the palm) and intermediate (middle of the hand) muscles.

The ligaments are tough bands of connective tissue that connect the bones to support them and keep them in place. Important ligaments of the hand are:

  • Collateral ligaments
  • Volar plate
  • Radial and ulnar collateral ligaments
  • Volar radiocarpal ligaments
  • Dorsal radiocarpal ligaments
  • Ulnocarpal and radioulnar ligaments


Symptoms of Hand Pain

The location and severity of hand pain may vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany hand pain include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Redness and warmth to the touch
  • Weakness or instability
  • Popping or crunching noises
  • Inability to fully move the hand or finger
  • Locking

For patients suffering from hand pain, the first step to recovery is to receive a proper diagnosis so the cause of the symptoms can be determined.

If you feel you have a potential infection in the hand or finger or a fracture, urgent medical attention should be sought.

Causes of Hand Pain

There are a number of ankle conditions which cause ankle pain. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Ganglion Cyst
  • De Quervain’s disease
  • Trigger finger or thumb
  • Tenosynovitis (inflammation of a tendon sheath)
  • Fracture
  • Sprain
  • Strain
  • Dupuytren’s Contracture
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

With all hand conditions the most important part of treatment is getting your hand injury correctly diagnosed.  We achieve this by conducting comprehensive examinations of the ligaments, cartilage, muscles and tendons in and around the hand joint.

As part of our multi-disciplinary team, our specialists have access to MRI facilities.

Investigations for Hand Pain and Injury

Like every joint evaluation, the start to a diagnosis is a consultation followed by a physical examination. Your specialist will inspect your hand for swelling, pain, tenderness, warmth and visible bruising. A visual assessment is followed by evaluation of the movement and specific orthopaedic tests to determine integrity.

After a provisional diagnosis is made by your specialist, it may be suggested you have the joint imaged by:

  • X-ray
  • MRI Scan
  • CT Scan
  • Ultrasound

If your specialist suspects an infection or arthritis you may be recommended a series of have blood tests .

On rare occasions your specialist may request a nerve conduction study to look for nerve injury and compression.

Treatments for Hand Pain

Throughout your diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, dedicated team members will continue to work hard to ensure you can get back to enjoying life with the most comfort, mobility, and functionality possible.

Healthplus Clinics has assembled a group of Hand Pain Specialists to provide complete surgical and non-surgical treatments. Our team of Hand Specialists includes: Hand Surgeons, Plastic Surgeons, Pain Specialists, Podiatrists, and specially trained Hand Physiotherapists.

Non-Surgical Hand Treatments and Procedures

  • Specialist Hand Physiotherapy
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Hand Acupuncture
  • Electrotherapy

Hand Pain Management Procedures

  • Joint Injection

Surgical Hand Treatments and Procedures

  • Carpel tunnel release
  • Dupuytren’s contracture fasciectomy
  • Ganglion removal
  • Knuckle (MCP joint) replacement
  • Surgical release of de quervains syndrome
  • Tendon repair: flexor and extensor repair
  • Trapeziectomy (removal of the trapezium)
  • Trigger finger release
  • Wrist fracture fixation
  • Wrist fusion
  • Wrist joint replacement
Complication of Hand Pain and Injury

Chronic pain

Once your ligaments are stretched or torn, they need about eight weeks to be fully healed and are pain free. But other problems might go undiagnosed, like a bone fracture, tear in the cartilage, nerve damage or a torn tendon. Delaying treatment of these other conditions leads to continued pain, weakness, and disruption of your normal daily activities.

Instability of the Joint in the Hand

A dislocation in the hand can heal incorrectly, leaving your ligaments permanently stretched. This causes your hand joints to be weak, frequently resulting in abnormal movement. If this happens, you will are likely to recurrently injuries causing swelling and pain.


Stiffness usually happens because of severe inflammation swelling at the site of the injury and scar tissue. Stiffness most often results in pain and even osteoarthritis.


When the hand does not heal properly, localized swelling occurs causing a limited range of motion and an inability to participate in your usual routine.


The relationship of hand to a number of arthritic conditions can lead to hand deformity and reduced functional ability to grip and create fine movements.

Early onset arthritis in the Hand Joint

When a joint functions incorrectly following injury there is a possibility that over a period of time premature arthritis can occur.

Most patients will not encounter problems after orthopaedic surgery. As with any surgery, however, there are potential risks, including: reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, blood clots, nerve damage, lack of full range of motion, development of arthritis, scar formation, or re-injury of the joint or soft tissue.

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