The palm comprises the underside of the human hand. Also known as the broad palm or metacarpus, it consists of the area between the five phalanges (finger bones) and the carpus (wrist joint). Located in the palm are 17 of the 34 muscles that articulate the fingers and thumb, and are connected to the hand skeleton through a series of tendons. Unlike other areas of the body, the skin of the palm is glabrous (hairless) and unable to tan, and durable, yet touch sensitive. In order that the skin layer remains anchored to the bone structure, a layer of connective fibrous tissue (fascia) links the skin with the skeleton, and allows the hand to grip without the skin sliding out of position. Dupuytren's contracture occurs when this fascia layer thickens and shrinks. Its symptoms include the formation of a firm nodule in the palm that later develops into a thick band. Although it is a painless disease, over time it can inhibit the straightening of the digits, and is therefore treated by surgical procedure, which removes the thickened tissue. Older people are prone to rupture veins in the palm. Signs of a rupture include spontaneous itching and a noticeable hematoma.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Palm