Your Remarkable Wrist

Carpus_(left_hand)_-_animation01a

Image credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carpus_%28left_hand%29_-_animation01a.gif

Did you know that you have EIGHT bones in your wrist? This intricate structure is critical for practically every activity that you do throughout the day. Anyone who has broken their wrist and had to wear a cast for a few weeks has firsthand knowledge of this! Each of the colored bones you see in this image are connected with ligaments in various directions creating a flexible, yet strong and rigid structure. Layers of connective tissue, muscles and nerves all traverse this important area. The unique shapes and arrangements of these bones work together to allow you to bend your wrist up and down, side to side, and even around in circles. Speaking of circles, are you hypnotized yet by watching this image going around and around? I know I am – in fact it is distracting me from finishing this post!

Anyway…do you see that the orange and dark blue bones have outcroppings on them? Okay, now imagine a broad band of tissue connecting those two outcroppings, and you have just created the infamous carpal tunnel. That’s where some major tendons pass through which allow you to close your fingers into a fist. Also in the tunnel is the median nerve, which is the one that gives you some nasty pain and numbness if the tunnel gets too tight (more on that next week). Suffice it to say, your wrist is a pretty amazing and intricate structure, and it’s proper function depends upon each bone and joint doing what it is supposed to do. The more I study the human wrist and all its components, the more I am fascinated by it.

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