Ligamentous structures of the metacarpophalangeal joint: A quantitative anatomic study

Akio Minami, Kai‐Nan ‐N An, William P. Cooney, Ronald L. Linscheid, Edmund Y.S. Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The ligamentous structure of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint of the index finger in human cadavers was studied by gross examination and quantitative measurement. Anatomically, the collateral ligament is separable into two layers, with the precise origin arising from the metacarpal head and inserting on the proximal phalanx. Quantitatively, the change in length of the collateral ligament was studied with biplanar radiographic techniques. The distance between the origin and insertion of the collateral ligament changed in different portions of the ligament when the joint was moved from a position of hyperextension to that of flexion. When the MCP joint was flexed from 0° to 80°, the dorsal portions of both the radial and ulnar collateral ligaments were lengthened (3–4 mm). The middle portions of both ligaments were slightly elongated (0.4–1.0 mm), and the volar portions of the ligaments were shortened (1–2 mm). When the MCP joint extended into hyperextension, the dorsal portions of the ligaments shortened 2–3 mm, the middle thirds of the ligaments shortened slightly, and the volar thirds of the ligaments lengthened. The results of this study suggest that the dorsal and volar portions of the collateral ligament provide MCP joint constraint at the flexed and extended positions, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-368
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1983


  • Index finger
  • Ligamentous structures
  • Metacarpophalangeal joint
  • Quantitative anatomic study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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