The human hand can perform a wide range of movements and actions. It achieves this impressive dexterity through the interaction of muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, nerve fibers, and bones. The 27 small, delicate bones in the human hand account for almost a quarter of the 206 bones in the entire body. Each hand has 14 joints, eight carpal bones, five metacarpal bones, and 14 phalanges that form the underlying structure that supports and works with other tissues.
Synovial joints facilitate movement of the hand and wrist in the same manner as larger joints such as the knee. A layer of articular cartilage covers the ends of long bones. The cartilage and synovial fluid in the joint cavities protect bones during articulation. Metacarpophalangeal or MCP joints include the knuckles. Interphalangeal or IP joints are present between bones that make up the fingers.
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