Want to know the name for each carpal bone off-hand? Scrub up on your latin and learn these 8 handy tips.
The secret to these 8 handy tips is all about understanding the origin of their names. If you know where the Greek and Latin originate from, then it will make a lot more sense when it comes to learning these structures and identifying them in a dissection.
First let’s take the scaphoid. Greek in origin, it means “like a boat”. If you isolate this bone and rotate it around, what you will discover is that it sort of looks like a boat.
Next up is the lunate. This name is Latin in origin; it means “like the moon”. So if we examine this bone in isolation, we can actually see the outline of a half-moon, and with this it will be easier to remember.
Now let’s look at the triquetrum. This bone’s name is Latin in origin — it means three corners; “tri” meaning three, “quetra” meaning corner. So again, if we take a look at this bone isolation, we can make out a triangular (three-cornered) shape.
The pisiform is up next. Latin in origin, its name means “in the shape of a pea”. The pisiform is a standalone, small, ball-like shaped structure just like a pea. It’s the easiest bone to remember.
The trapezium‘s name is Greek in origin; it means “like a table”. If you view this bone in isolation, the bone roughy resembles a table shape.
The next bone, the trapezoid, means “like a table” also. This one looks a little more like its namesake. Viewing it in isolation you can really make out that table shape.
The capitate bone is up next. Again, Latin in origin, it means “like a head”. This one takes a little more imagination than the others, but once again, looking at it in isolation, you should be able to make out a head shape.
The final bone we’re going to look at is the hamate. Another name that’s Latin in origin, meaning “like a hook”. If you isolate this bone and view it from the side, you can make out the hook-like structure sticking out of this bone.
So that’s all the bones of the wrist covered. Like I said before, if you know your Greek and Latin you’ll always have these names at hand. But if you don’t, don’t worry – just remember these simple tips and you’ll be sorted.