The bones of the wrist are known as carpals. The hamate is a wedge-shaped carpal bone. It is located on the outside area of the wrist, which is the same side as the pinkie finger. The hamate articulates—meaning it meets or connects with—five other bones. Three of these bones are also carpals: the lunate, triquetral, and capitate. Two of the bones are metacarpals, which are the long bones of the palm. These include the fourth and fifth metacarpals, located below the ring and pinkie fingers respectively. The hamate has a hook-like process that projects from the palm-side of the wrist toward the outside of the body. The hook of the hamate forms part of Guyon’s canal, also known as the ulnar canal. Guyon’s canal is located along the lower edge of the palm. It is bounded by the pisiform, another carpal bone, and a number of muscles and ligaments. The ulnar artery and ulnar nerve pass into the hand through this canal. A condition called Guyon’s canal syndrome may occur if the ulnar nerve is compressed in this area. It may be caused by overuse of the wrist through repetitive movements, trauma to the wrist, or a fracture to the hamate, among other factors. Symptoms include numbness, weakness, and pain in the hand. In severe cases, surgery is required. However, this condition is much less common than carpal tunnel syndrome.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Hamate

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