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Definition - What does Phalanges mean?

Phalanges refers to the digits, or the fingers and toes, of the hands and feet with an aggregate of fifty-six phalanges in the human body that are subdivided into three segments including distal (away from the extremity), intermediate, and proximal (near the extremity) relative to the articulating joint of the forearm and tibia (lower leg bone).

SureHire explains Phalanges

Each digit includes two phalanges in the thumb and big toe and three phalanges for the corresponding fingers/toes, adjoining the primary phalanges called the metacarpals (hand) and metatarsals (feet) with their respective metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joints. Ligaments, muscles, and tendons of the forearm, palm, and feet connect to the phalanges, contributing to biomechanical functions where ankle and hand/wrist flexibility and mobility are essential to performing regular activities. The digits are highly adaptable based on sensorimotor cues triggered by the brain to facilitate motions that correspond to each phalange serving a distinctive purpose. For instance, the distal phalanges of the fingers contain nerve receptors highlighting their sensitivity, which is believed to serve as an adaptive component in helping people utilize fine motor skills including precision gripping and grasping objects.

The delicate composition of the phalanges can induce critical injuries of the hands or wrists, resulting in temporary or permanent immobility that can interfere with normal obligations at home or work. Traumatic accidents that cause physical impairment of the phalange(s) may qualify as grounds for receiving workers’ compensation benefits commensurate with the area of injury and the disability. Dislocation of joints and fractures of the phalange(s) can render an individual incapable of performing their essential job tasks, and surgery and subsequent physical therapy may be mandatory.

Individuals experiencing sporadic or persistent pain in the phalange(s) should consult a physician, since it is possible that a muscle injury has occurred with concomitant inflammation at the affected site. The employ of X rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are beneficial in viewing and gauging the extent of a phalangeal injury to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis.

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