Saturday, February 23, 2008

something about your thumb

Each of your hands have 48 nerves and 30 named arteries, 29 major and minor bones, 29major joints, and at least 123 named ligaments? And there’s more! Thirty-four muscles move your fingers and thumb. But astonishingly, your fingers have no muscles. So if you want to move your fingers you will find that the muscles that do this function are located in your palm and in your mid forearm. These are connected to the finger bones by tendons.

However, your thumb is controlled by nine individual muscles, which are controlled by all three major hand nerves. Without your thumb you would not be able to perform functions like pulling the trigger of a gun, holding a fork or spoon, getting a firm grip on anything and so on.

In fact during the Gallic wars, Julius Caesar ordered the thumbs of captured warriors amputated so that when they returned to their country, they would serve as examples and be unable to bear arms again. It is said that the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jehan, cut off the thumbs of the artisans who worked on the Taj Mahal, so that they could never replicate the edifice again.

Every finger on your hand including the thumb sports a fingernail which takes around six months to grow from root to tip. The longest fingernails recorded were some 20 feet and 2.25 inches. They belonged to a man called Shidhar Chillal and it took him 48 years to grow them!

It seems amazing that such a small part of your body has so much going on by way of support systems. In fact about a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain (the part that controls all movements in the body) is devoted to the muscles of the hands. So, you can see how important your hands are.