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Physical Examination of the Hand


Thorough physical examination of the hand is crucial in the assessment of hand functions. In this chapter, physical examination of the hand including general inspection, palpation, range of motion assessment of each joint, neurologic examination, and evaluation of the hand’s vascular supply is reviewed in details. Furthermore, the specific tests for carpal tunnel syndrome, Wartenberg’s syndrome, ulnar nerve compression syndromes, and de Quervain’s tenosynovitis are also described. Once the patient enters the room, the clinical examination begins with inspection followed by the palpation of not only soft tissue and bony structures of hand but also the whole upper extremity. Range of motion measurement of the wrist, fingers, and thumb by using a goniometer is an essential component of hand function evaluation. Besides motor and sensory function assessment which is especially important in traumatic hand injuries, the specific tests for the common hand pathologies such as Tinel’s sign and Phalen’s and Finkelstein’s test should be also performed to make an accurate differential diagnosis.


  • Median Nerve
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Ulnar Nerve
  • Radial Nerve
  • Proximal Phalanx

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Correspondence to Fitnat Dincer M.D. .

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Dincer, F., Samut, G. (2014). Physical Examination of the Hand. In: Duruöz, M. (eds) Hand Function. Springer, New York, NY.

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