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Anatomy of the Wrist


Maj Spencer
The wrist is where the forearm and the hand connect. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about the anatomy of the wrist?

Dr. Patel
Sure, Major Spencer. The wrist consists of a double row of small bones that are intertwined to form a movable hinge. The eight wrist bones, called carpals, are covered on the palm side by a thick ligament called the transverse carpal ligament. The space between the carpals and the ligament forms the carpal tunnel, a passageway for the tendons and nerves of the hand.

Several ligaments around the wrist joint work to stabilize the position of the hand and allow for controlled movements.

The two bones of the lower arm, known as the radius and the ulna, meet at the hand to complete the wrist. The radius is the bone on the thumb side of your forearm, and the ulna is the bone of the forearm located on the side of your little finger.

The median and ulnar nerves are the major nerves of the hand. They run the length of the arm to transmit electrical impulses to and from the brain, controlling both movement and sensation.

In all, there are 27 bones in the hand and wrist. In addition, the hand contains an intricate network of muscles, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels, all packed into a very tight space.