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  • To identify on a human skeleton selected bony features of the wrist, hand and fingers

  • To label selected bony features on a skeletal chart

  • To draw and label the muscles on a skeletal chart

  • To determine, list, and palpate the muscles of the wrist and hand joints and their antagonists and appreciate the role of the ligaments in providing stability

  • To palpate the muscles on a human subject while demonstrating their actions

  • To list the planes of motion and their respective axes of rotation

  • To organize and list the muscles that produce the primary movements of the wrist, hand and fingers

  • To learn and understand the innervation of the wrist and hand joint muscles

  • To determine, through analysis, the wrist and hand movements and muscles involved in selected skills and exercises

The importance of the joints of the wrist, hand and fingers is often overlooked in comparison with the larger joints needed for ambulation. Even though some sports and activities do not require the fine motor skills characteristic of this area, many activities in sports and life require precise functioning of the wrist and hand. Several sports, such as archery, bowling, golf, baseball and tennis, require the combined use of all these joints. Beyond this, appropriate function in the joints and muscles of our hands is critical for daily activities throughout life.

Because of the numerous muscles, bones and ligaments, along with relatively small joint size, the functional anatomy of the wrist and hand is complex and overwhelming to some. This complexity may be simplified by relating the functional anatomy to the major actions of the joints: flexion, extension, abduction and adduction of the wrist and hand separately, then together.

A large number of muscles are used in these movements. Anatomically and structurally, the human wrist and hand have highly developed, complex mechanisms capable of a variety of movements— a result of the arrangement of 29 bones, more than 25 joints, and more than 30 muscles, of which 18 are intrinsic muscles (both origin and insertion found in the hand).

For most who use this text, an extensive knowledge of these intrinsic muscles is not necessary. However, athletic trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, anatomists, physicians and nurses require a more extensive knowledge. The intrinsic muscles are listed, illustrated, and discussed to a limited degree at the end of this chapter. References at the end of this chapter provide additional sources from which to gain further information.

Our discussion is limited to a review of the muscles, joints, nerves and movements involved in gross motor activities. The muscles discussed are those of the forearm and the extrinsic muscles of the wrist, hand and fingers. The larger, more important extrinsic muscles of each joint are included, providing a basic knowledge of this area. The prescription of exercises for strengthening these muscles will be somewhat redundant, as ...

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