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Origins Carpal bones of wrist
Insertions Proximal phalanges
Articulations Carpometacarpal, intermetacarpal, metacarpophalangeal
Latin ossa metacarpalia
MeSH A01.378.800.667.572
TA A02.4.09.001
FMA 71336
Anatomical terms of bone
[edit on Wikidata]
In human anatomy, the metacarpal bones or metacarpus, form the intermediate part of the skeletal hand located between the phalanges of the fingers and the carpal bones of the wrist which forms the connection to the forearm. The metacarpal bones are equivalent to the metatarsal bones in the foot.

Structure Edit

Left hand shown with thumb on left.
The metacarpals form a transverse arch to which the rigid row of distal carpal bones are fixed. The peripheral metacarpals (those of the thumb and little finger) form the sides of the cup of the palmar gutter and as they are brought together they deepen this concavity. The index metacarpal is the most firmly fixed, while the thumb metacarpal articulates with the trapezium and acts independently from the others. The middle metacarpals are tightly united to the carpus by intrinsic interlocking bone elements at their bases. The ring metacarpal forms a transitional element of the semi-independent last metacarpal.[1]

Each metacarpal bone consists of a body and two extremities (head and base).

Body Edit
The body; shaft) is prismoid in form, and curved, so as to be convex in the longitudinal direction behind, concave in front. It presents three surfaces: medial, lateral, and dorsal.

The medial and lateral surfaces are concave, for the attachment of the interosseus muscles, and separated from one another by a prominent anterior ridge.
The dorsal surface presents in its distal two-thirds a smooth, triangular, flattened area which is covered in by the tendons of the extensor muscles. This surface is bounded by two lines, which commence in small tubercles situated on either side of the digital extremity, and, passing upward, converge and meet some distance above the center of the bone and form a ridge which runs along the rest of the dorsal surface to the carpal extremity. This ridge separates two sloping surfaces for the attachment of the interossei dorsales.
To the tubercles on the digital extremities are attached the collateral ligaments of the metacarpophalangeal joints.

Base Edit
The base or carpal extremity (basis) is of a cuboidal form, and broader behind than in front: it articulates with the carpal bones, and with the adjoining metacarpal bones; its dorsal and volar surfaces are rough, for the attachment of ligaments.


Head Edit
The head or digital extremity (capitulum) or neck per ICD-9 coding presents an oblong surface markedly convex from before backward, less so transversely, and flattened from side to side; it articulates with the proximal phalanx. It is broader, and extends farther upward, on the volar than on the dorsal aspect, and is longer in the antero-posterior than in the transverse diameter. On either side of the head is a tubercle for the attachment of the collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joint.

The dorsal surface, broad and flat, supports the tendons of the extensor muscles.

The volar surface is grooved in the middle line for the passage of the flexor tendons, and marked on either side by an articular eminence continuous with the terminal articular surface.


Articulations Edit
Besides the metacarpophalangeal joints, the metacarpal bones articulate by carpometacarpal joints as follows:

the first with the trapezium;
the second with the trapezium, trapezoid, capitate and third metacarpal;
the third with the capitate and second and fourth metacarpals;
the fourth with the capitate, hamate, and third and fifth metacarpals;
and the fifth with the hamate and fourth metacarpal;
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