Not just your hand

Day fourteen of the ‘Blogging from A-Z Challenge’  and I’ve passed the half-way mark.  This means two things, firstly I’ve broken the back of the challenge and, secondly it is going to get harder and harder to find something interesting to say.  All of the easy stuff has already been done and I’m going to be on my guard to not repeat myself.  The second half of the alphabet also contains all of the difficult letters.  X, Y and Z are the scourge of blogging.

So far I’ve managed to fill thirteen days of left-handedness trivia and anecdotes yet being handed is more than just about the hand.  There is a lot more to dexterity than your palm, your fingers and thumb.  Once when watching an episode of the popular quiz show QI, the host, Stephen Fry, said that there were no muscles in the hand.  I am of the age where I argue with the television.  I don’t like the way that they wrap up supposition and label it as fact. In this case I was right (as in correct and not handed just in case there was any confusion).

There are muscles in the hand otherwise you wouldn’t be able to do that ‘Live long and prosper’ salute made famous by Star Trek’s Mr Spock.  Such a movement is called abduction which I thought was something to do with aliens.  It is true though that the majority of the muscles that operate the hand originate in the forearm and wrist.  In all there are over thirty different muscles which have evolved to allow an unequalled array of movements.  These muscles provide the hands with unsurpassed flexibility, extremely precise control and a strong grip which means we can be delicate enough to pick up fragile items or squeeze an orange.

The muscles range from the abductor digiti minimi muscle of the hand (see what I mean, I was right after all) to the pronator quadratus muscle and everything in-between.

I’ll not go into the detail of what each muscle does.  All you need to know is that there are lots of them and they each work in opposition to another.  Together they allow each finger to bend by itself and work together to do whatever is needed.  The thumb can move in almost a circle and the hand can rotate around the wrist by one hundred and eighty degrees.  The rotation however involves all the bones and muscles up to the elbow.

Handedness is an issue not of the hand but of the forearm and wrist as well.  Learning to master control of your hand, whichever one you choose, requires the careful coordination of all of the muscles involved in making the hand work.  Saying that I am right-handed is a misnomer.  I am in fact right-armed and my challenge is to try and use my opposing arm as well as the stumpy bit on the end.

It’s not just about being right or left-handed.  Next time you walk up to a kerb take a note of what your feet do.  The vast majority of the population will shuffle their feet so that the right foot goes up onto the kerb first.  Since I became aware of this I have tried every time to raise my left foot first.

2 thoughts on “Not just your hand

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