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Muscles in the Hand and Fingers

The system of muscles in the hand and fingers of a human by far in the world of biology is the most well developed structure in the animal kingdom. The human hand can perform any possible movement and the fingers alone are capable of producing tremendous amount of strength. But for all we know, we may always use fingers every day and despite the amount of force the human finger can apply, there are actually no muscles that can be found within the fingers. Our five fingers do not have muscles, it is simply a group of bones cloaked with skin, but we are able to move them because of a number of reasons. Basically, our ability to move our fingers is not as direct as it may seem, because our fingers do not have muscles, there motion in other words is controlled by another set of muscles that are not found in the fingers themselves. In fact, the muscles that control the finger’s ability of motion are found in the hand and also on the forearm.

Muscles in the Hand and Fingers

The cloaked bones of our fingers are connected to the muscles of our hand and arm through thin strings called as tendons. Tendons are the basic structures that are responsible for the motion of our fingers, a damage tendon can result to numerous diseases like trigger finger which will lead to the inability of a finger to move, just an example of how vital the tendon’s role are. The tendons act like strings for our fingers which are controlled by the muscles in our hand and arm, as we flex, the string is pulled resulting to the motion of our fingers. The strength of our fingers in short are determined by the strength of the muscle in arms, which makes grip exercise devices just the same as working out with dumbbells. Without going to much deeper technical terms, the tendons of the fingers can be grouped into two, the intrinsic and the extrinsic. The extensors are the long muscles that are located starting from the forearm to the fingers. Their main role is to perform the straightening of the fingers, while the intrinsic muscles are shorter ones compared to the extensors. The thumb is composed of a number of tendons which gives it the ability of grasping. Other fingers do also have addition tendons which gives the ability of fingers of further movement.

Muscles in the Hand and Fingers

In order to fully understand the motor characteristics of fingers, it is necessary to learn the origin of the motion. To start off, the most complex structure of the five fingers which is the thumb is controlled by the thenar muscles. The thenar muscles are a group of intrinsic muscles that are found within the compartment of the thenar, slightly distinguished from other muscles because it is separated by a wall called the fascia. There are four different types of specific muscles under the specification of the thenar group, without going to the more technical aspects, one of the four types is the Flexor Pollicis Brevis, and this is the basic muscle that gives the thumb its ability to simply flex in its usual position, the fully straight stretch of the thumb. Second, Opponens Pollicis is the muscle that gives the thumb another mode of motion. This allows the abduction of the thumb. This is the movement done when you are trying to reach the pinky. The two other muscles are the Abductor Pollicis Brevis and Adductor Pollicis, these two muscles are highly different from one another, and they differ in structure mainly. The Abductor Pollicis Brevis is a sheath of muscle while the Adductor Pollicis has two heads basically, not going into more technical aspects, these muscles give the thumb its ability to abduct, the motion while grouping with other fingers or when the thumb comes close to the pointer finger. The thenar muscles can be seen just by looking at the base of the thumb, the large area and bulk generated are the muscles that mainly control the motions of the thumb.

The exact opposite of the thumb which is the pinky is controlled by another set of muscles which are called hypothenar muscles. These are intrinsic muscles that compose the medial side of the hand. They are controlled by the nerves of the deep branch of an ulnar nerve. Under the hypothenar muscles are two intrinsic muscles that give the pinky its different forms of motor motion. The first is the Abductor Digiti Minimi which origins at the pisiform and enters through the base of the pinky finger. It is mainly responsible for the abducting motion, followed by the Flexor Digiti Minimi. This muscle originates from the Hamate and comes close to the Abductor Digiti Minimi muscle. It is the key muscle that gives the pinky the flexing motion, the ability to straighten and stretch the pinky. The Opponens digiti Minimi originates also from the Hamate. What it does is that it pulls and rotates the fifth metacarpal which gives the pinky its ability to oppose the thumb or come in contact with the thumb.

If you are wondering whether the muscles controlling the three different enclose fingers are different, then you are slightly wrong. The muscles responsible for the motion of the ring, index and middle finger are all under in one classification. To start with, the Interosseous muscles which are then also later divided by seven even smaller sub-groups of muscles which are also controlled by the ulnar nerve. There are four dorsal muscles that are responsible for the flexing and three palmar muscles that are responsible for the abducting capabilities of the three fingers. The other type of muscle is the Lumbricals. There are actually four of these and are located between metacarpals. The first and second are controlled by the median nerve while the third and fourth by the ulnar nerve. These muscles give the ability of flexing and extending the three enclosed fingers. All the muscles that compose the hand are responsible for the motion of the fingers, while also the forearm is still partly responsible for some muscles that cause the movement of the fingers, like the long extrinsic muscles.

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Vikings Disease in the Hands

In early ages, a large fleet of Vikings invaded England and conquered the land for nearly 300 years. It is said that the Vikings were mainly responsible for the disease that spread across England which were also named after them – the Viking’s disease. Vikings disease is the shortening and hardening of tissues. Generally, this can be seen happening in the hands mostly but there are also cases that they occur between the sole of the foot and the toes. Other term for Vikings diseases in hands is the Dupuytren’s disease. This happens between the fingers and the palms. What happens is that the tissue underneath the skin of the palm and finger that connects them contracts and hardens resulting to the fingers, usually the ring finger and pinky, gradually come closer to the palm.

Vikings Disease in the Hands

The symptoms of Vikings disease is an uneven thickening of the skin on the hand between the palm and the fingers. It will later develop a dimple and when left untreated will then harden. Furthermore in this stage, the hard lump of skin may not be painful to the touch but is very sensitive. Vikings disease runs through the blood, meaning it is a hereditary disease though there are factors that may trigger this. It also cannot be permanently treated. There are surgeries used to momentarily “cure” the disease in order to achieve full productivity of the hand. Injections are also used like cortisone to slow down or to momentarily stop the contraction of the tissue. In severe cases, it might be advised to remove the hardened contracted muscle through surgery. However, after 3 to 5 years, the disease will redevelop and it will need another treatment.

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Treatment for Trigger Finger

As contrary to popular belief, the fingers are one of the most unique type of biological body structure because unlike other structures, the hands are the most developed, being able to perform any type of motor movement. What’s rather more bizarre is the unknown fact that fingers do not actually contain muscles. They are the only boned moving body structure that does not contain muscles, other than being unique, this fact makes our fingers also fragile. Because of the reason that fingers do not have muscles, their motor movement solely relies on the muscles that can be found in the hands and two long muscles that stretch to the forehand. The concept of motion within our hands is as simple as a puppet show. The bones in the fingers are connected to the muscles of the hands and wrist through string-like structures that are mainly responsible for the motion of the fingers. This is called tendons. Tendons are thin string like structures that are the ones that pull and give the fingers its motor motions, allowing the fingers to flex, stretch and move. They are the strings of a puppet, but like any puppet show, anything that happens with the strings, the puppets will no longer move. The same in fingers when the tendons are damaged, the finger’s capabilities is be either minimized or eliminated.

Treatment for Trigger Finger

A type of inflammation of the tendons in the hands is called trigger finger. Basically, trigger finger is named after the motion done when using a gun. In trigger finger, any finger affected may be locked in a bent position and after some time or struggle will directly pop back in a straight position. This condition affects the tendons in the fingers, what basically happens is that, tendons are thin strands of muscle like properties, the tendons are covered with a sheath like structure and in this sheath like structure is also lined again with another structure called the tenosynovium. This is the one responsible for producing a lubricant which allows tendons and the surrounding sheath to slide smoothly. In the case of trigger finger, the tenosynovium is enflamed causing the lack of production of lubricant, resulting in the inability of the tendons to simply slide through the sheath.

There are a number of reasons that causes trigger finger, namely strenuous activities using the hands may cause the tendons to be damaged or severely over used. Manual labor, baseball and many other forms that may cause regular trauma in the hands are considered some of the reasons. Also aging is a proven cause, as the human body ages, the muscles start to degrade, same as in the tendons, the tenosynovium produces less and less lubricant as an individual gets older. It is even said to occur mostly between the ages of 40 to 60 years and are most frequent in women compared to men. Diabetes, gout and arthritis are also seen as developmental causes of trigger finger. When an individual starts to feel the symptoms like a clicking or snapping sensation when the finger is bent, or pain and numbness on the joints of the fingers, it is likely necessary to seek treatment for trigger finger before the condition gets any worse.

There are a number of treatments used to control or cure trigger finger. Abstinence is a seen way to slowly recover from the injury, stopping all activities that may cause trauma to the hands, like strong gripping. This will help the inflammation to gradually heal and let the tendons recover. Some people who are not required to take surgery take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Splinting is a method which is acclaimed to be effective for over 70 percent who have undergone the treatment. This will require the use of splint or a finger orthosis which is a type of brace that will be placed on the finger. This will prevent the finger to perform any type of motion, reducing the inflammation. The amount of time that an individual may be required to wear an orthosis depends on the doctor’s prescription which is also based on the severity of the condition. In even severe conditions, the need of corticosteroid injections may be necessary. This is an anti-inflammatory drug that will be injected to the tendons. Side effects may include slight elevation in the glucose levels of an individual. This might not be that severe but may be damaging to some diabetic patients, slight discoloration of the skin and twitching of the fingers.

The famous type of treatment known are the surgeries, there are basically two types. All of which concentrate in the idea of removing the thickened ligament or separating the sheath and tendon. The open surgery is considered as the most effective, though it is more prone to complications. Anesthetics is applied and an incision is made to remove a thickened ligament that limits the movement of the fingers, also in other terms, the removing the sheath that is constricting the tendon. The end result usually of an open surgery is a large scar. The percutaneous release surgery may not lead to a large scar and is less likely to have any complications, the process includes the use of a needle which will be used to pierce through the skin and separate the ligament through a micro incision. This process though is very dangerous. It may damage neighboring nerves close to the tendon.

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Finger Orthosis

Misalignment of the teeth, bad posture, and broken neck, all of these can be corrected with the use of braces. Orthosis is a type of device that is used to correct or support a part of the body. A finger orthosis is used in several different kinds of ailments or conditions, common examples of these are broken, fractured, or dislocated fingers. It is also used in correcting different finger contraction diseases like trigger finger. In the case of diseases like trigger finger, a finger brace is used for physical therapy in order to correct and prevent any further development to that contraction of muscles or tissues.

Finger Orthosis

There are a lot of finger braces that can be bought through the internet, ranging from the finger brace itself to some that are hand and finger support. Finger braces are made from a light but hard synthetic plastic. It ranges from sizes and lengths, it is used in any of the five fingers and is usually size managed to achieve full comfort. The design of it is not a simple straight tube but instead is partially arched to prevent stressing the joints too much or the part where the ailment is. The inner linings are also lined with a comfortable thin cushion to prevent irritation and to achieve comfort because a person is most likely to wear this the whole day. These braces are worn partially and not directly, to start off, an individual will start to wear this between 2 to 3 hours per day and increasing its duration in the process. This is in order to prevent over straining the tissue, especially in cases that deals with ailments of contracting muscles or tissues. While finger braces are not a type of treatment, this will guarantee to prevent further damage.

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Flexion Contracture Hand

Like any other body part, the hand has tissues and these tissues are the key why we are able to successfully perform both basic and integrated motor skills. Like any other body part, the hand can suffer from a flexion contracture. A flexion is a position made by decreasing the angle, in the case of the hand, decreasing the angle between the finger and the palm. A contracture, on the other hand, is a state in which there is either the shortening or hardening of the muscles or tissue. As the name suggests, a flexion contracture hand is when the angle between the finger and the palm decreases while the tissue in between them shortens and hardens. The result would be a disease called Dupuytren’s syndrome which results to the fingers, usually the pinky and ring finger, coiling closer to the palm. It also results to the inability of the fingers to be fully straightened and, in worst case scenarios, have fully terminated the ability of the fingers to be productive and to perform even basic motor skills.

Flexion Contracture Hand

Flexion contracture of the hand is usually seen as a heredity disease, as for the moment. The commonly seen cause of this disease is through being present in the bloodline. Though, it is also being studied on other causes that may have triggered this ailment, namely relating traumas and aging with people who have the disease. In a recent study, it has been seen that the tissue that is tightening showed minor bleeding that can be related to traumas caused by hard manual labor. Regarding that, a percentage of the people having this disease have claimed that they have done severe work like hard sports utilizing the hand and construction work. The disease though cannot be fully treated, but instead can be only controlled. Developing cases can be injected by cortisone to slow or to momentarily stop the development. In severe cases, surgery is an option, but the disease will again develop in 3 to 5 years.

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