Complete Guide to Finger Anatomy: Learn Parts, Names, Functions & Diagram

Fingers are essential limbs of the body, serving as specialized organs for manipulation and sensation. It is found in the hands of most tetrapods, including humans and other primates. They have undergone millions of years of evolution, developing into exceptional abilities. The anatomy of fingers is a complex network of tissues comprising muscle fibers, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels. At the heart of finger anatomy lie the phalanges, a series of small bones that provide structure. Surrounded by muscles and tendons, these phalanges enable precise movements and intricate control, granting fingers remarkable versatility.

Finger Anatomy Diagram

Finger Anatomy, Parts, Names, Functions & Diagram

Part of a Finger


  • Flexor Digitorum Profundus
  • Flexor Digitorum Superficialis
  • Extensor Digitorum
  • Lumbricals
  • Interossei


  • Metacarpophalangeal (MCP) Joint
  • Proximal Interphalangeal (PIP) Joint
  • Distal Interphalangeal (DIP) Joint


  • Flexor Digitorum Profundus
  • Flexor Digitorum Superficialis
  • Flexor Pollicis Longus
  • Extensor Digitorum


  • Collateral ligaments
  • Volara plate
  • Palmar ligaments
  • Dorsal ligaments
  • Sagittal bands

Finger Parts

  • Nail
  • Phalanx bones
  • Blood vessels
  • Nerves
  • Pulp
  • Sesamoid bones

Read More- Complete Guide to Thumb Anatomy: Parts, Names & Diagram

Finger Anatomy: Parts & Functions

Finger Muscle Anatomy

Flexor Digitorum Profundus

The flexor digitorum profundus muscle is a multi-headed creature that resides in the dark and hollow space of the forearm. Its long, tendinous heads emerge from the bony lairs of the ulna. They also emerge from the interosseous membrane. These tendons wind their way down toward their prey.

The distal phalanges of the four fingers, excluding the thumb. Once in range, the heads wrap tightly around the bones, ready to pounce.

When signaled by the neural sentries of the median and ulnar nerves, the flexor digitorum profundus springs into action. It flexes the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint with lightning-fast speed. This movement allows the fingers to grasp and manipulate objects with the precision of a skilled predator.

Flexor Digitorum Superficialis

Its prey is the middle phalanges of the four fingers, excluding the thumb, which it traps with its powerful tendrils.

The flexor digitorum superficialis is a master of deception, capable of flexing the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint with lightning-fast speed. This movement is crucial for hunting and gathering, allowing the fingers to grasp and hold objects easily.

Extensor Digitorum

It extends its tendrils towards the ulna’s posterior borders and radius, anchoring itself firmly in place.
Its prey is the extensor expansion of the four fingers. Excluding the thumb, it unleashes its fury with devastating force.

The extensor digitorum is a master of extension. It can extend the metacarpophalangeal (MCP), PIP, and DIP joints. It does so with a thunderous roar.

This movement allows the fingers to strike with deadly accuracy. It opens up opportunities for typing, playing musical instruments, and grasping and releasing objects.


They wrap themselves around the extensor expansion of the four fingers, excluding the thumb. They resemble a pair of wise old serpents. The lubricants are masters of both flexion and extension. They can flex the MCP joint and extend the PIP and DIP joints. Their movements possess the grace of a dancer.

This complex movement allows the fingers to perform intricate tasks easily. Examples include writing, playing musical instruments, and manipulating small objects. The lubricants are the guardians of the hand, maintaining its arches and stabilizing its joints during grip and manipulation.


Specialized motor units work together in perfect synchrony to regulate finger movement. They also control force output with remarkable precision in these muscles. The interossei muscles exhibit a unique structural organization optimized for their specific functions at the microscopic level.

They arrange their muscle fibers in a highly ordered pattern. They vary the orientation of the fibers in different regions of the muscle.

Depending on the task, the muscles can generate force in different directions and degrees of precision.

Finger Joint Anatomy

The joints in our finger anatomy are fascinating and remarkable structures. They allow us to perform intricate movements with precision and accuracy. These specialized areas where the phalanx bones connect provide support and flexibility. They are necessary for bending, straightening, twisting, and grasping objects.

Their complex and diverse design sets these joints apart, with various types of joints, each with its unique function. The hinge joint at the base of each finger facilitates smooth bending and straightening movements.

The pivot joint at the knuckles enables rotational movement. The saddle joint located at the base of the thumb provides greater mobility. It allows us to grip and manipulate objects with finesse.

The intricate and sophisticated design of the finger joints makes them an essential component of the human hand. They enable us to perform complex tasks easily.

Metacarpophalangeal (MCP) Joint

This joint is located where your finger meets your hand and is a real powerhouse regarding movement. It can bend, flex, twist, turn, and move in various directions.

This joint is kept together by some tough ligaments and lubricated by a slick substance called synovial fluid. It’s the ultimate finger joint, allowing for extreme and intricate movements.

Proximal interphalangeal (PIP) Joint

This joint is located in the middle of your finger, and while it might not be as flashy as the MCP joint, it’s still pretty incredible. It’s a hinge joint, which means it can only move in one direction – bending or straightening.

The joint plays a crucial role in gripping and grasping objects. The surrounding tough ligaments provide stability and prevent injury. Additionally, the synovial fluid lubricates the joint, reducing friction and ensuring smooth and easy movements.

Distal interphalangeal (DIP) Joint

It is a tiny joint at the tip of your finger. This joint might be small, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with. Like the PIP joint, it’s also a hinge joint that can only move in one direction.

This joint is essential for all intricate finger movements, from playing musical instruments to typing on a keyboard.

Finger Tendon Anatomy

Flexor Digitorum Profundus

Flexor Digitorum Profundus originates from the ulna bone and interosseous membrane. It lies beneath the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis tendon. It inserts into the distal phalanges of the fingers.

This tendon can flex the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP) independently of other tendons, making it a powerful and unique structure.

Flexor Digitorum Superficialis

It originates from the medial epicondyle of the humerus and the ulna bone. It inserts into the middle phalanges of the fingers & requires the help of other tendons to flex the DIP joint.

However, it can flex the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) and the metacarpophalangeal joint (MCP). This makes it a versatile and important structure in finger movement.

Extensor Digitorum

The extensor digitorum is a large tendon originates from the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. It also originates from the ulna bone and the interosseous membrane.

It inserts into the extensor expansion of the fingers & it can extend all three joints of the fingers – the MCP, PIP, and DIP -. These tendons makes it a powerful and essential structure in finger movement and control.

Flexor Pollicis Longus

The Flexor Pollicis Longus is responsible for flexing the distal phalanx of the thumb. This tendon originates from the anterior surface of the radius bone. It also originates from the interosseous membrane. The tendon inserts into the distal phalanx of the thumb.

It’s the only tendon responsible for flexing the distal phalanx of the thumb, making it a unique and specialized structure.

Finger Ligaments Anatomy

It provides exceptional stability and resilience to joints. Their unique composition and structure, consisting of long, sturdy collagen fibers, allow them to withstand extreme forces and stresses. These fibers are arranged parallel and crisscrossing, resembling a fortress.

But what truly sets ligaments apart from other connective tissues is their remarkable plasticity.
“They can adapt and remodel in response to changing biomechanical demands. It can repair themselves after injury. They can grow stronger in response to physical training and exercise. They are true warriors.”

Ligaments are not invincible. Even the strongest can succumb to excessive strain or trauma. These injuries can be debilitating and require heroic surgical intervention to repair or replace the damaged tissue.

Collateral Ligaments

The collateral ligaments on either side of the finger joint possess impressive ligaments. They have a complex arrangement of collagen fibers, giving them incredible strength and flexibility.

A specific pattern organizes these fibers, forming a web-like structure that imparts stability and flexibility to the joint.

The collateral ligaments act as a shield. They protect the joint from unwanted stresses and strains. They also allow us to perform intricate movements easily.

Volara Plate

The volar plate ligament is found in the fingers, located on the palmar side of the finger joint. This structure comprises a complex matrix of collagen fibers and glycosaminoglycans, giving it unique properties.

The volar plate is essential in providing stability to the joint. It acts as a protective barrier for the flexor tendons, enabling finger bending. The structure of the volar plate is highly specialized. It allows it to absorb and distribute forces evenly. This helps prevent injury to the joint.

Palmar & Dorsal Ligaments

The palmar and dorsal ligaments play a crucial role in finger movement. The palmar ligaments are located on the palm side of the finger and are essential in preventing joint hyperextension.

These ligaments are highly organized collagen fibers that provide strength and stability to the joint. On the other hand, the dorsal ligaments are located on the backside of the finger and are crucial in preventing excessive joint movement.

These ligaments are highly specialized. They enable them to distribute forces evenly across the joint. This helps prevent damage to the bones and other structures.

Sagittal Bands

The sagittal bands are another remarkable set of ligaments found in the fingers. These bands are located on the top of the finger and are crucial in facilitating finger movement.

They comprise highly organized collagen fibers. These fibers act as a pulley system for the extensor tendons. They enable smooth and precise finger movements.

Finger Parts


The nail is an extraordinary fusion of art and science. It is a complex and intricate structure that is a natural wonder. Composed of the resilient protein keratin, nails grow continuously. They adapt to the needs of their environment while providing a protective barrier for the fingertips.

Each nail is as unique as the person it belongs to. It has a distinct shape, texture, and pattern reflecting individuality. The delicate cuticles safeguard the growth of the nail bed. The nail also has a crescent-shaped lunula at its base. Every aspect of the nail is a testament to its remarkable complexity.

But nails are not just a thing of beauty but also an essential diagnostic tool. Changes in the nail’s color, shape, or texture can indicate underlying medical conditions. These changes are crucial in assessing our overall health.

As such, the nail is a unique and awe-inspiring natural creation and a critical aspect of our well-being.

Phalanx Bones

The phalanx bones are a set of three cylindrical bones. They are an unparalleled feat of nature. They comprise the fingers and enable a level of skill unmatched in the animal kingdom.

These bones possess a smooth surface that allows for effortless gliding movements within the finger joints at the same time. Their intricate network of ligaments, tendons, and muscles facilitates the complex movements essential for fine motor skills.

Their unique shape, size, and arrangement distinguish the phalanx bones from other bones in the body. These bones enable the human hand to perform an incredible range of movements. They allow for delicate touch when playing a musical instrument. They provide the necessary strength for lifting heavy objects.


The skin on our fingers is a unique and fascinating structure that serves as a unique combination of armor and sensory receptor. It comprises multiple layers, each with distinct properties and functions.

The stratum corneum, which forms a barrier against environmental toxins and hazards, consists of dead skin cells. Below this layer, the basal layer produces new skin cells that migrate upwards to replace the dead cells on the surface.

The dermis is located beneath the basal layer. It contains a complex network of blood vessels, nerves, and specialized cells. These components work together to provide the skin with strength, elasticity, and the ability to sense.

The skin on our fingers is particularly remarkable due to fingerprints. These intricate patterns of ridges and valleys are formed during fetal development. They remain unchanged throughout life, making them a unique identifier for each individual.

Blood Vessels

The network of blood vessels in the fingers is incredibly unique and complex. It serves a critical role in maintaining the health and functionality of the fingers.

Capillary density: The fingertips have an extremely high density of capillaries, the smallest blood vessels in the body. The fingers require constant oxygen and nutrients to maintain their sensitivity and skill.

Arteriovenous shunts: The fingers also have a unique feature called arteriovenous shunts. These are small blood vessels that connect arteries directly to veins. These shunts help regulate blood flow to the fingers. They allow them to quickly adjust to temperature changes and other environmental factors.

Medical professionals use pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen saturation levels in the blood using the blood vessels in the fingers. This non-invasive procedure is a common way to monitor patients during surgery or other medical procedures.


The nerves that enable the fingers to feel and move are unique, extraordinary, and unparalleled in the human body.

Firstly, these nerves possess an incredible degree of specificity and precision. The sensory nerves can distinguish between a wide range of sensations. They can detect the gentlest of touches. They can also perceive the sharpest of pains. These nerves relay this information to the brain. Their accuracy is remarkable.

Meanwhile, the motor nerves can control the most delicate and intricate movements of the fingers. This enables us to perform tasks as complex as threading a needle or playing a musical instrument.

In addition to their precision, these nerves are also incredibly fast. This lightning-fast speed allows us to react almost instantaneously to environmental changes. For example, we can pull our hand away from a hot stove. We can also catch a ball thrown our way.

This lightning-fast speed allows us to react almost instantaneously to environmental changes. For example, we can pull our hand away from a hot stove. We can also catch a ball thrown our way.


The pulp at the tip of the finger is an extremely unique and remarkable feature of the human body. It is a complex and sophisticated structure. It contains an intricate network of blood vessels, nerves, and specialized touch receptors known as Meissner’s corpuscles.

These corpuscles are so sensitive. They can detect the slightest changes in pressure. This enables us to distinguish between textures. The textures can be as subtle as silk and sandpaper.

Furthermore, the pulp is not just limited to the fingertips. It is present in every digit of our hands and feet. It allows us to feel with incredible precision and accuracy. This enables us to perform complex tasks. For example, playing a musical instrument or performing surgery. We can do so with unparalleled skill and finesse.

Another fascinating aspect of the pulp is its ability to heal itself. If the pulp is damaged or injured, it can regenerate, restoring its function and allowing us to continue using our hands as we normally would.

Sesamoid Bones

These tiny but mighty components enable us to perform the most extraordinary feats of skill and strength.

Like hidden gems embedded within the tendons of our hands and feet. These remarkable bones are the ultimate biomechanical powerhouses. They allow us to grasp, grip, and move with unparalleled precision and force.

Without sesamoid bones, our fingers and toes would be mere appendages, lacking the strength and agility to perform even the most basic tasks. In this sense, sesamoid bones embody extreme uniqueness, representing the ultimate fusion of form and function in the natural world.

They are a testament to the awe-inspiring complexity and beauty of the human body. They are a reminder of just how extraordinary our existence truly is.

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