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Carpometacarpal Joint

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The CMC joints of the second–fifth fingers[1]
Posterior view of the wrist ligaments[2]
Labeled radiograph PA radiograph of the wrist[3]

Other Names

  • Carpometacarpal Joint
  • CMC
  • Trapeziometacarpal Joint


  • Synovial joints formed by the articulation between the distal carpal bones (carpo-) and metacarpal bones (metacarpal-)
  • There are 5 CMC joints (thumb and 4 additional digits)


First CMC Joint

  • Thumb joint (trapeziometacarpal joint) is the most specialized, flexible
  • Articulation of trapezium, first metacarpal
  • Characterized as a synovial, curved saddle joint

Second to Fifth CMC Joint


First CMC Joint[4]

  • Dorsal deltoid ligament complex of the thumb
  • Posterior oblique carpometacarpal ligament
  • Anterior oblique carpometacarpal ligament
  • Lateral ligament
  • Fibrous capsule

Second to Fifth CMC Joint

  • Dorsal carpometacarpal ligaments
    • Strongest; contribute most to joint stability
  • Palmar carpometacarpal ligaments
  • Interosseous ligament

Joint Capsule

First CMC Joint

  • Characterized as a synovial, curved saddle joint
  • Separate synovial membrane lines the fibrous joint capsule

Second to Fifth CMC Joint

  • Synovial membranes are often continuous with those of the intercarpal joints
  • 4th and 5th CMC Joints:
    • May possess a shared synovial cavity, separated from the other carpometacarpal joints of the digits
    • Due to extensions of the medial interosseous ligament into the palmar and dorsal parts of the capsule


First CMC Joint

Second to Fifth CMC Joint

Vascular Supply

First CMC Joint

Second to Fifth CMC Joint


First CMC Joint

  • Lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve
  • Palmar cutaneous branch of the median nerve
  • Superficial radial nerve (rarely)

Second to Fifth CMC Joint

  • Dorsal ulnar nerve
  • Anterior interosseous nerve
  • Superficial radial nerve

Clinical Significance

See Also


  1. Ayhan, Çiğdem, and Egemen Ayhan. "Kinesiology of the wrist and the hand." Comparative kinesiology of the human body. Academic Press, 2020. 211-282.
  2. Image courtesy of wikpedia.org, "Carpometacarpal Joint"
  3. Vos, F. M., et al. "A statistical shape model without using landmarks." Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Pattern Recognition, 2004. ICPR 2004.. Vol. 3. IEEE, 2004.
  4. Zhang AY, Van Nortwick S, Hagert E, Yao J, Ladd AL. Thumb carpometacarpal ligaments inside and out: a comparative study of arthroscopic and gross anatomy from the robert a. Chase hand and upper limb center at stanford university. (2013) Journal of wrist surgery. 2 (1): 55-62
  5. Drake R, Vogl AW, Mitchell AWM. Gray's Anatomy for Students. Churchill Livingstone. ISBN:B005YZX32I.
Created by:
John Kiel on 4 January 2024 23:55:38
Last edited:
5 January 2024 00:55:04