Dear friend,

I use my hands a lot. They help me draw, write, and play guitar (among other things). I recently discovered that I have hypermobility syndrome. This means I have become fascinated with hands and how they work.

I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned.

Hands are pretty amazing.

Hands help you pick things up, move things, open things. And they have a phenomenal sense of touch.

Photo Of Person’s Open Hands · Free Stock Photo (pexels.com)

There are 27 bones in the adult human hand, which means it is the part of the body with the largest number of bones.

The three bones in four of your fingers and two in the thumb are called the philanges. The philanges connect the five long bones in your palm called metacarpal bones to eight bones at the base of your plam. These are the carpal bones.

The carpal bones fit snugly together and slide against each other to create a cushion. They, along with the muscles around them, also protect the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel houses the nerves and tendons that run to your fingers.

Fun fact: there are no muscles in your fingers, just in the palm of your hand. The tendons that run through the carpal tunnel from your arm to your fingers are what allow you to move your fingers around.

When hands don’t work right

The term “carpal tunnel” may sound familiar. It is often used as the abbreviated term for “carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Carpal tunnel syndrome is “when something irritates or puts extra pressure on the median nerve that runs through your carpal tunnel. The median nerve helps you move your forearm and gives feeling to most of your fingers and hands. If it’s damaged or pressed against the walls of your carpal tunnel, it can send extra or incorrect feelings to your hand and wrist.” (Cleveland Clinic)

Arthritis

Another common malfunction in hands is arthritis. There are many forms of arthritis but the main three are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is often known as “wear and tear” arthritis because it causes the cartilage padding between joints to wear away.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack the lining of the joints creating swelling and pain in those areas.

Psoriatic arthritis affects both skin and joints, causing swelling in both.

Double-joints

Okay, okay. So I mentioned that I recently discovered I have joint hypermobility syndrome. What that means is that my joints are super flexible because the ligaments are loose or weak. You likely have heard the term “double-jointed.” People who have hypermobile joints frequently are double-jointed.

Sometimes this can be a cool party trick. But frequently, hypermobility can cause pain and swelling in those joints and make it easier for me to injure myself. Things I can do to help is making sure I do exercises with my hands and wearing splints to keep my joints in place.

Anyway, hands are pretty cool. Be nice to them. Appreciate the way God designed them.

What do you like to do with your hands?

Sincerely,

R. J. Catlin