Interphalangeal articulations of hand

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Interphalangeal joints
Human hand bones simple.svg
Human hand bones
Metacarpophalangeal articulation and articulations of digit. Volar aspect.
Latin articulationes interphalangeae manus, articulationes digitorum manus
Gray's subject #91 333
Dorlands/Elsevier a_64/12161327

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Associate Editor-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2]


The interphalangeal articulations of hand are hinge-joints of the phalanges of the hand. There are two sets (except in the thumb):

  • "proximal interphalangeal joints" (PIP), those between the first (also called proximal) and second (intermediate) phalanges
  • "distal interphalangeal joints" (DIP), those between the second and third (distal) phalanges

A similar group of articulations also function in the toes.


Each joint has a volar ligament and two collateral ligaments.

The arrangement of these ligaments is similar to those in the metacarpophalangeal joints (also known as MCP joints).

The extensor tendons supply the place of posterior ligaments.


The only movements permitted in the interphalangeal joints are flexion and extension.

  • Flexion is more extensive, about 100°, in the PIP joints and slightly more restricted, about 80°, in the DIP joints.
  • Extension is limited by the volar and collateral ligaments.

The muscles generating these movements are:

Location Flexion Extension
fingers the flexor digitorum profundus acting on the proximal and distal joints, and the flexor digitorum sublimis acting on the proximal joints mainly by the lumbricales and interossei, the long extensors having little or no action upon these joints
thumb the flexor pollicis longus the extensor pollicis longus

See also

External links

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.