Distal phalanges (hand)

The distal phalanges are one of three types of finger bones. The human hand and wrist are comprised of three different bone groups. The carpals are the base of the hand and wrist, and consist of eight small bones with differing names. Above them, the metacarpals form the base of the fingers, while the phalanges are the fingers themselves. The phalanges are comprised of the proximal, middle, and distal groups. The proximal bones are located just below the knuckle, while the middle bones are located above the knuckle. The distal phalanges are the fingertips. This is why the term terminal phalanges may be interchangeable with distal phalanges. These bones are unlike their counterparts in the finger. Their main purpose involves supporting the sensitive flesh of the fingertip, where a high number of nerve endings are situated. These nerve endings translate sensory feelings of touch into nerve impulses that are transmitted back to the brain. These bones also feature apical tufts, which are flat expansions of bone. The tufts support the fingernails on the dorsal side of the fingers, and the fleshy pad of skin on the palmar side of the fingers.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Distal phalanges (hand)

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