Small but Highly Useful Joints The Wrist and the Ankle

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This article was edited and updated on November 10, 2015.

The Structure of the Wrist

There are 27 bones in the human hand which include:

Fingers are an excellent source of tactile feedback for us; they have the greatest positioning capability of the body. Each hand is dominantly controlled by the opposing brain hemisphere; thus, the preferred hand choice for single-handed activities such as using a pencil or scissors reflects the specific brain function of that individual.

The Function of the Wrist

Our fingers and thumbs all have a skeleton of phalanges which are joined by hinge-like joints. This gives us flexion toward the palm of the hand. Our fingers and thumbs also have a nail at the end, and fingerprint ridges on the other side.

However, the thumb is the only digit that:


We have great mobility in our hands: We can move our fingers and thumbs in a variety of ways which assists us with picking up and holding on to items and doing a myriad number of tasks from knitting to using a hammer.

It is in the joints of the hand that we sometimes first notice the signs of aging, as these joints are vulnerable to arthritic stiffening and pain. To keep our hands as mobile as possible, it's important to exercise them, just as we do all the other parts of our body.

Some possible activities to assist in keeping your hands mobile (many can be done while watching TV or reading a book):

The Structure of the Ankle

The ankle is the region where the foot and the leg meet. The main bones of the ankle region are the talus (in the foot), and the tibia and fibula (in the leg).

It includes three joints:

The Function of the Ankle

The ankle joint allows us to move our foot up and down and side to side. It assists us in standing, walking, or running. Consider, for a moment, how important the flexibility of our foot is needed in every step that we take. Our feet get a lot of wear and tear over the years — walking, hiking, running. It's wise to take care of them.

Here are some simple exercises to help you to keep your ankles strong:

Other articles about joints:

I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.

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  1. These three dots behave exactly like a footnote. Click on them and you will get more information about the topic. 

  2. Proximal means that it is situated nearer to the center of the body or the point of attachment. Distal means that it is situated away from the center of the body or from the point of attachment. 

  3. The talus is sometimes referred to as the ankle bone. 

  4. Inversion and eversion refer to movements that tilt the sole of the foot away from (eversion) or towards (inversion) the midline of the body.