What are Phalanges?

1,674 Views Updated: 15 May 2018
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What are Phalanges?

In most vertebrates, there are some digital bones in the hands and the feet, those bones are called Phalanges. The thumb and the big toe has two phalanges and all the fingers have three phalanges. They are also classified as the long bones.

You can easily feel them by touching your own hands or feet. The hard thing or the bone you feel under your skin is a phalanx (Singular). The bones combined are known as phalanges (Plural).

Structure

(Image Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Phalanges are those specific bones which make up the whole hand and the foot. There are a total number of 56 phalanges in the human body. Each hand or foot consist of 14 phalanges each. 3 phalanges are present in each finger, except the thumb and the large toe. The thumb and the large toe have 2 phalanges. The far phalanges of the fourth and fifth toe of the foot are often seen to be fused together. In fact, the phalanges of the fingers are called ‘finger bones’ very often.

Location

(Image Courtesy: YouTube)

Again, your fingers and toes have phalanges. The phalanges of fingers are divided into three parts:

• The one phalanx that your palm of the hand connects with is called the Proximal Phalanx. These bones can vary in shapes and size a little. But the variation depends upon their function. Proximal phalanges are relatively concave surfaced and broad near the palm. These bones are helpful in studying the fossils.

• The bones which are missing in the large toe and thumb are the Intermediate Phalanx. They are the bridge between the proximal and distal phalanx. In animals, this phalanx is very flexible.

• There is a phalanx that is on the top where your nail sits is called the Distal Phalanx, also known as terminal phalanges. They contain numerous nerve ending to support the nail bed. These bones have small extensions underneath nails called apical tufts. The terminal phalanx is relatively broader at the connection with proximal phalanx and taper towards the outside.

The thumb only consists of two phalanges that are proximal and distal phalanx. Similarly, the toes have 3 phalanges and the large toe has only two which are distal and proximal.

Function

These bones are crucially important in forming up the structure of fingers and toes. Phalanges are significant in almost all the evolutionary activities in the hominid species. Grasping, tool making, handling of equipment or precise gripping are some anatomical features which are done with the help of phalanges. Basically, all the activities which require fine motor skills are done with the help of phalanges.

Certainly being an important part of the body, phalanges are capable of making a human well with all sort of motor of motor skills. If you find this information, let and know and if you want to share more relevant information regarding phalanges, don’t hesitate to comment down below.

(Featured Image Courtesy: Eaton Hand)

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