Anatomy of the Hand and Wrist Bones

Author: Scott A. Sheffield MS

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The hand is the most complex region of the upper limb skeleton. It consists of 27 bones arranged into three groups. From proximal to distal, these are:

These bones are connected via various joints that enable the smooth movements of the hand.

Easily and efficiently learn the bones of the body with interactive quizzes and labelling exercises.

Carpal bones

Carpal bones labeled, as seen form an anterior (palmar) perspective of the right hand
Carpal bones labeled

The carpal bones are 8 irregularly shaped bones distributed into proximal and distal rows. Proximally, they articulate with the radius via the radiocarpal joint, also known as the wrist joint. Distally, they form carpometacarpal joints with the metacarpal bones.

Learn the full anatomy of the carpal bones with our article: Carpal bones anatomy, labeled diagrams and interactive quiz

Metacarpal bones

Palmar view of the right hand showing metacarpal bones 1-5.
Metacarpal bones labeled

The metacarpals are the five long bones that comprise the skeleton of the palm of the hand. They are located between the carpals and phalanges. Several hand muscles attach to the metacarpal bones, forming a sustainable musculoskeletal unit that supports the grip of the hand and fine movements coordination.

Learn about these bones with our article: Metacarpal bones anatomy, labeled diagrams and interactive quiz


A labeled diagram showing phalanges of the hand from an anterior/palmar view
Phalanges (phalanx) bones labeled

The phalanges (sing. phalanx) are the 14 bones that compose the digits. They are called this way since they are serially aligned into proximal, middle and distal rows, resembling the ancient Greek military formations with the same name (phalanges). Each digit except for the thumb has all three phalanges, while the thumb consists only of the proximal and distal.

Improve your knowledge on the phalanges with our labeled diagrams and interactive quiz here: Phalanges bones anatomy, labeled diagrams and interactive quiz.

Bones of the hand quiz

Identify the bones of the hand with our interactive quiz:


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