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Hand Injuries

The hand is one of the most common sites of injury during athletic competition. The palm consists of five metacarpal bones, one for each digit. The metacarpals in the middle of the hand have very little motion and provide a stable palm, while the little finger and especially the thumb have significantly more motion to allow the hand to grasp objects. Without the large motion allowed by the joints of the thumb metacarpal we would be unable to oppose the thumb to the palm for grasping. Fortunately, severe injuries to the thumb are rare, but they can be devastating.

Each of the four fingers has three phalangeal bones: a proximal phalanx (closest to the palm), a middle phalanx, and a distal phalanx. The proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint lies between the proximal and middle phalanges, and the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint lies between the middle and a distal phalanges. The thumb has only two phalangeal bones, a proximal and a distal phalanx. Between the fingers and palm are the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints: these are almost exclusively for bending and straightening the fingers and have very little side-to-side movement; this allows the hand to conform to objects for better grasping and allows precise finger placement during detailed work.

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