A to Z of hand jargon

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Arm - the anatomical area between your shoulder and elbow.

 

Articular - refers to a joint or joints. For instance, the articular surface is the cartilage that lines the bone ends in a joint.

Bedford finger splint is a stretchy splint to hold two fingers together. It stabilises the fingers whilst still allowing movement. See 'buddy strapping' below.

 

Brachial plexus block involves injection of anaesthetic into the armpit to numb the whole upper limb. It is a type of regional anaesthesia.


Broken bone is the lay term for a fractured bone.

 

Buddy taping, strapping or wrapping or neighbour strapping is the taping of two fingers together whilst allowing them to bend at the joints. It helps to stabilise the injured finger and stops it from catching on things. A Bedford gaitor / splint is a like a pair of trousers for two fingers and does the same as buddy taping. 

Carpal bone - there are eight small carpal bones in the wrist. These are the scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, pisiform, hamate, capitate, trapezoid and trapezium.

Dislocation - the two bone ends of a joint come apart, usually following a forceful injury.

 

Distal - a medical term for being further away from the body. The opposite word is ‘proximal’, meaning closer. For example, the distal phalanx is the bone at the very tip of a finger.

Extensor tendon - a type of tendon found on the back (non-palm side) of the forearm and hand that straightens the hand and fingers.

Extra-articular - medical term describing a fracture of a bone that doesn't go into a joint.
The opposite is an 'intra-articular fracture', in which the fracture goes into the joint surface. 

FDP - flexor digitorum profundus. The muscle belly is found in the forearm, which gives four tendons running to the tip of index, middle, ring and little fingers. Along with FDS (see below), FDP bends the fingers into the palm.

 

FDS - flexor digitorum superficialis. The four muscle bellies are found in the forearm and give tendons running to half way down the index, middle, ring and little fingers. Along with FDP (see above), FDS bends the fingers into the palm.

 

Flexor tendon - a type of tendon found on the palm side of the forearm and hand that bends the fingers into the palm. 

 

FOOSH stands for ‘fall on outstretched hand’. It is a common way to break the distal radius or the scaphoid bone.

 

Forearm - the anatomical area between the elbow and wrist.

 

Fracture -  medical term for a broken bone.

General anaesthesia - anaesthetic that makes the patient go to sleep (unconscious) for a procedure.

Hamate - one of the eight carpal bones in the wrist.

K-wire - a thin metal rod used to treat fractures. Named after Dr. Kirschner. The K-wires hold a fracture in place whilst it heals. They are usually removed around 4 weeks after the initial operation.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a painless imaging technique. It gives very detailed pictures of hand and wrist anatomy. An MRI scan is good at detecting injuries to ligaments and very subtle fractures (e.g. scaphoid fractures). It uses a large magnet and radio waves. There is no radiation (e.g. x-rays) involved.  

Neighbour strapping (or buddy strapping) keeps two fingers together whilst still allowing movement at the finger joints.

Open fracture - a fractured bone with a wound over the top. Open fractures have a higher risk of infection as bacteria can get to the broken bone via the wound.

ORIF - open reduction and internal fixation.

Phalanx or phalangeal - these terms refer to the small bones in the fingers. The thumb has two bones and the fingers each have three (proximal, middle and distal).

PIPJ - proximal interphalangeal joint is the finger joint between the proximal and middle phalanges.

Proximal - a medical term for being closer to the body. The opposite word is ‘distal’, meaning further away. For instance, the proximal phalanx is the small bone at the base of a finger near the palm. The distal phalanx is the small bone at the tip of the finger.

Currently no terms listed.

Radiograph - medical term for an x-ray picture.

Rotation - twisted appearance of a finger following a break in a bone. 

Scaphoid bone is one of the eight carpal bones of the wrist. It sits beneath the trapezium at the base of the thumb. It is the most common carpal bone to be broken, usually after a fall on outstretched hands.

 

Scapholunate ligament - tough ligament that connects the scaphoid and lunate bones together.

 

Scissoring is the appearance of a finger crossing another finger when making a fist.

 

Subluxation - a partial dislocation of a joint in which the two bone ends are not lined up properly.

Tendon - a tendon is a tough fibrous rope-like tissue that connects a muscle to bone. 

TP - thermoplastic splints are usually custom moulded by hand therapists. The splint uses a plastic material that needs to be placed in a hot water bath to make it soft and malleable.

Trapezium - one of the eight carpal bones in the wrist. It sits at the base of the thumb.

Trapezoid - one of the eight carpal bones in the wrist. It sits at the base of the index finger.

Triquetrum - one of the eight carpal bones in the wrist. It sits on the little finger side of the wrist.

volar plate - tough ligament on the palm side of finger joints. It is injured when the finger is bent backwards (hyperextended) or dislocated. 

X-ray - a form of high energy radiation. The x-rays pass through the body. As bones are denser they create a shadow, which is capture on film (now digital)

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