The metacarpals are long bones in miniature that are connected to the carpals, or wrist bones, at the wrist, and connect from there to the phalanges, or finger bones. The metacarpals together are referred to as the "metacarpus." The tops of the metacarpals form the knuckles where they join to the wrist. On the palm side, they are covered with connective tissue. You can feel and see the metacarpals on the back of your hand, through your skin. The five metacarpals are called thumb metacarpal, index metacarpal, middle metacarpal, ring metacarpal, and small metacarpal. 10 percent of all fractures that occur are those to the metacarpals and phalanges, the most common injuries being from car accidents, sports injuries, and work-related injuries. The goal in repairing these injuries is to do so while maintining strength of hand grip and no residual pain upon using the hand. Boxers tend to have high incidence of fracture to metacarpals for obvious reasons.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Metacarpals