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Article: Finger


Evolution and Anatomy of Fingers

  • Land vertebrate fingers
  • Fingers of tree frogs, red-eyed crocodile skinks, red squirrels, and bats
  • Terrestrial vertebrates' forelimbs evolved from lobe-finned fish
  • Variation in the basic pentadactyl plan and the metacarpals and phalanges
  • Different fingers of terrestrial vertebrates are homologous
  • Primates, like chimpanzees, have specialized lower limbs for manipulation and fingers on their lower limbs
  • Human fingers
  • Humans typically have five digits on each hand
  • Some people have more or fewer than five due to congenital disorders or amputations
  • Definitions of finger vary, with some including the thumb and others not
  • English dictionaries describe finger as one of the five digits or one of the four digits excluding the thumb
  • Thumb can be called a finger, depending on the definition
  • Anatomy
  • Skeleton of the hand includes the thumb, palm, metacarpal bones, and phalanges
  • Each finger has three joints: metacarpophalangeal, proximal interphalangeal, and distal interphalangeal
  • Sesamoid bones provide extra leverage and reduce pressure
  • Articulations include interphalangeal articulations and metacarpophalangeal joints
  • Muscles in the palm and forearm control finger movements

Muscles and Movements of Fingers

  • Muscles
  • Each finger can flex, extend, abduct, adduct, and circumduct
  • Flexion is the strongest movement, produced by large muscles and augmented by additional muscles
  • Finger movements are not completely independent due to finger interdependence
  • Finger joints are moved by muscles in the palm and forearm
  • Muscles of the fingers can be divided into extrinsic and intrinsic muscles

Sensory Capabilities of Fingers

  • Skin
  • Fingertips have the highest concentration of touch and thermoreceptors
  • Fingers are extremely sensitive to temperature, pressure, vibration, texture, and moisture
  • Fingers can feel nano-scale wrinkles on seemingly smooth surfaces
  • Fingers are commonly used as sensory probes to ascertain properties of objects
  • Fingertip wrinkling in water is caused by blood vessel constriction in response to water exposure
  • Anatomy and Function of Fingers
  • Fingertips provide better handling of wet objects but no advantage for handling dry objects.
  • A 2014 study failed to demonstrate any improvement in handling wet objects with wrinkled fingertips.
  • Fingertips can regrow in less than 8 weeks if torn off, although they may not look the same as before.
  • Healing does not occur if the tear happens below the nail.
  • Distal phalanges are regenerative in youth, and stem cells in the nails create new tissue for fingertip regrowth.

Brain Representation and Clinical Significance of Fingers

  • Brain Representation of Fingers
  • Each finger has an orderly somatotopic representation in the cerebral cortex.
  • The somatosensory cortex area 3b and part of area 1 are involved in finger representation.
  • Supplementary motor area and primary motor area also have distributed, overlapping representations of fingers.
  • In syndactyly, where fingers are fused, the cortical maps of individual fingers also form a club hand.
  • Surgical division of fused fingers can separate the cortical maps and improve hand function.
  • Clinical Significance of Fingers
  • Anomalies such as polydactyly (extra fingers) and symbrachydactyly (underdeveloped fingers) can occur.
  • Phalanges are commonly fractured, and damaged tendons can cause loss of fine motor control.
  • Fingers can be affected by diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and neurovascular disorders.
  • The ratio of lengths between index and ring fingers has been linked to various physical and behavioral traits.
  • Fingers are used by diabetics for blood sugar testing, and they can be affected by conditions like Raynaud's phenomenon.

Cultural and Linguistic Aspects of Fingers

  • Cultural and Linguistic Aspects of Fingers
  • The name 'pinkie' derives from the Dutch word 'pinkje'.
  • In some languages, the translated version of 'fingers' can refer to both hand and foot digits.
  • English distinguishes between fingers and toes for foot digits.
  • Finger snapping is a cultural gesture associated with making a sharp sound by pressing the fingers together and then releasing them.
  • The term 'digit' is used in scientific and medical contexts to refer to both fingers and toes.

Finger Mentions

Finger Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph

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