Bones of the hand #1: Carpal bones

Bones of the hand #1: Carpal bonesKey facts about the anatomy of the carpal bones
~ 3 min

The bones of the hand (ossa manus) include the carpal bones (ossa carpi), the metacarpals (ossa metacarpi) and the phalanges (phalanges/ossa digitorum).

Bones of the hand (ossa manus)
Bones of the hand (ossa manus)

Let us examine the carpal bones. These are 8 small bones forming two rows—a proximal carpal row and a distal carpal row. Each row contains 4 bones.

Carpal bones (ossa carpi)
Carpal bones (ossa carpi)

The bones of the proximal row are the following:

  • Scaphoid (os scaphoideum)

    Scaphoid (os scaphoideum)
    Scaphoid (os scaphoideum)
  • Lunate (os lunatum)

    Lunate (os lunatum)
    Lunate (os lunatum)
  • Triquetrum (os triquetrum)

    Triquetrum (os triquetrum)
    Triquetrum (os triquetrum)
  • Pisiform (os pisiforme)

    Pisiform (os pisiforme)
    Pisiform (os pisiforme)

    And now the bones of the distal row:

  • Trapezium (os trapezium)

    Trapezium (os trapezium)
    Trapezium (os trapezium)
  • Trapezoid (os trapezoideum)

    Trapezoid (os trapezoideum)
    Trapezoid (os trapezoideum)
  • Capitate (os capitatum)

    Capitate (os capitatum)
    Capitate (os capitatum)
  • Hamate (os hamatum) with a hook on it (hamulus ossis hamati)

    Hamate (os hamatum)
    Hamate (os hamatum)
    Hook of the hamate bone (hamulus ossis hamati)
    Hook of the hamate bone (hamulus ossis hamati)
  • Sometimes there is an additional bone on the back surface — the os centrale (os centrale).

Os centrale
Os centrale

There are practically no special anatomical formations on the carpal bones that need to be mentioned separately. It is only worth noting the presence of articular surfaces for articulation with adjacent bones.

The only bone that is not directly connected to the others is the pisiform. It lies in the tendon of the flexor carpi unaris. Such bones (located in the thickness of the tendon) are called sesamoid bones.

Pisiform bone (os pisiforme)
Pisiform bone (os pisiforme)

The proximal carpal row is involved in the formation of the wrist joint.

Due to their location, the carpal bones form on the palmar surface the so-called carpal groove (sulcus carpi), in which the tendons of the flexor muscles are located. On the medial side it is bounded by the hook of the hamate and the pisiform, and on the lateral side by the tubercle of the scaphoid and the trapezium.

Carpal groove (sulcus carpi)
Carpal groove (sulcus carpi)

To memorize the names of the carpal bones, you can use the following mnemonic:

So (scaphoid) Long (lunate) To (triquetrum) Pinky (pisiform), Here (hamate) Comes (capitate) The (trapezoid) Thumb (trapezium)

Dictionary

Carpal bones

ossa manus
bones of hand
ossa carpi
carpal bones
ossa metacarpi
metacarpals
ossa digitorum/phalanges
phalanges
os scaphoideum
scaphoid
os lunatum
lunate
os triquetrum
triquetrum
os pisiforme
pisiform
os trapezium
trapezium
os trapezoideum
trapezoid
os capitatum
capitate
os hamatum
hamate
hamulus ossis hamati
hook of hamate bone
os centrale
os centrale
sulcus carpi
carpal groove
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