Relevant Wrist Anatomy

The wrist anatomy includes the bones, muscles, tendons and other structures around the wrist joint. The wrist or the carpus is a part of the hand. It joins the forearm bones with the metacarpal bones of the hand. It is made of 8 small bones called the carpal bones. These are

  • scaphoid
  • lunate
  • triquetral
  • pisiform
  • trapezium
  • trapezoid
  • capitate
  • hamate

wrist anatomy bones

These bones are arranged in two rows. The proximal row includes the scaphoid, lunate, triquetral and pisiform. The distal row includes the trapezium, trapezoid, capitate and hamate.

Towards the palm the bones of the wrist form a concave cavity. This cavity is completed into a tunnel by the flexor retinaculum. This tunnel is called the carpal tunnel. It provides passage to the flexor tendons of the fingers and the median nerve. At the back of the wrist these bones are convex.

wrist anatomy cross section of wrist joint

The scaphoid, lunate and triquetral bones articulate with the articular surface of the lower end of the radius to form the radio-carpal or wrist joint.

The radial artery crosses the wrist joint and is the main blood supply of the hand. The radial pulse can be palpated at the wrist by gently pressing over the lower end of the radius bone.

The ulnar artery and nerve also cross the wrist joint through the ulnar tunnel. This ulnar tunnel is formed by the superficial and deep parts of the flexor retinaculum.

Movements occuring at the wrist joint are

  • flexion
  • extension
  • radial deviation
  • ulnar deviation

Muscles causing extension are

  • extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis
  • extensor carpi ulnaris

Muscles causing extensionflexion are

  • flexor carpi radialis
  • flexor carpi ulnaris

Muscles causing ulnar deviation are

  • flexor carpi ulnaris
  • extensor carpi ulnaris acting together

This photograph shows ulnar deviation.

Muscles causing radial deviation are

  • flexor carpi radialis
  • extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis acting together

This photograph shows radial deviation of the wrist joint.

I hope the information provided was helpful. If you have any query you can ask me at the contact me page.

This page was last updated on 21st August 2009.

To get a better understanding of wrist anatomy also see...

Hand Anatomy

Finger Anatomy

Causes of wrist pain...


Wrist Fracture

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Dequervain Disease

Scaphoid Fracture

Madelung Deformity

Go back from Wrist Anatomy to Wrist Pain


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