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Distal phalanges - hand

Other Terms: Phalanx distalis manus

Type

long

Description

Like the metacarpal bones these bones are classified as having a proximal base, a narrowed shaft, and a distal head. These bones have reduced, flattened heads that do not form articular facets. The heads form a rough tuberosity on the palmar surface for attachment of the soft mass of the finger tips.

Etymology

Phalanges, plural for phalanx, is a Greek term referring to a line of heavy-armed infantry drawn up in close order to do battle. The parallel digital rays resembled these lines of battle.

Articulations

The distal phalanges articulate with the middle phalanges. Each phalangeal base forms a double concave facet with a weak central spline that limits the joint movement to the dorsopalmar plane.

Ossification

The distal phalanges form a primary center in the mid-shaft region during the eighth to ninth week of prenatal life. Secondary epiphyseal centers arise in the second year in females and in the third to fourth year in males. The epiphyses unite between the fifteenth and eighteenth year, typically earlier in females.

Latin

Phalanx distalis manus

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