Finger Bones and Nails

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What would you do without fingers? Fingers make it possible to touch and manipulate things. When you were little, your mother or father probably first taught you to count using your fingers. To learn more about your fingers and nails...keep reading.

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Finger Bones and Nails

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Finger Bones and Nail - Lateral or Side View
Finger Bones and Nail - Lateral or Side View

Most people have ten fingers, five on each hand. Fingers are often called "digits," or even "phalanges." The first finger is the thumb, followed by index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and little finger or pinky.

We use our fingers to manipulate objects. Each finger has muscles and joints that allow it to be bent, straightened and wiggled in many different ways. We can move each finger independently from the other fingers. This provides us with considerable flexibility in grasping and manipulating objects. Some people, through sign language, can even talk by manipulating their fingers.

The muscles used to move your fingers are in the palm and forearm. When you move your fingers, you can actually see these long tendons working under the skin at the wrist and on the back of the hand. Try this experiment. Hold your hand with the palm up. Open and close your hand by bending and straightening your fingers. You should see the long tendon move in your wrist. Then turn your hand over, palm down. Once again, open and close your hand by flexing and extending your fingers. You should be able to see several tendons stretching along the top of your hand.

We also use our fingers to touch and feel objects. Fingers are an important part of our senses. The fingertips have many touch receptors and thermo receptors making them extremely sensitive to temperature, pressure, vibration, texture and moisture.

Since we use our fingers every day, for so many different things, it is not uncommon to break or injure a finger.

Each finger also has a fingernail. Fingernails are made of a tough protein called keratin. This is the same material as animal hooves and horns. Nails grow at about 1/8 inch (3 millimeters) a month. If you injure a nail and lose it, it takes three to six months to regrow.


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