QuickCheck: Is it true that there are no muscles in our fingers?

PART of humanity’s rapid development as a species can be attributed to our unique hands.

Our fingers, in particular, possess a remarkable level of dexterity and sensitivity that is unmatched by that of any other animal on the planet.

The fine motor skills of human fingers allow us to perform intricate tasks with high precision – such as typing on a keyboard, for example. Without fingers, humans would not be able to operate tools with our current level of finesse.

Given how much we use our fingers for, it would be logical to assume that they have one of the most complex muscle systems of the body.

However, is it true that there are actually no muscles at all in our fingers?


Partially True

As hard as that is to believe, there are no muscles within the human finger aside from tiny arrector pili muscles, which are attached to the hair follicles which makes hairs stand on end.

How then, do our fingers move?

To explain this, it is important to clarify that not having any muscles does not mean our fingers are not controlled by muscles.

Instead, muscles responsible for finger movement are located in the palm and forearm, rather than on individual fingers.

Forearm muscles which extend into the hand are known as extrinsic muscles, with the term ‘extrinsic’ referring to the location the muscles originate from.

Extrinsic hand muscles run through the wrist and palm and connect to the fingers via tendons – a type of flexible tissue which act as a mechanical bridge between hand muscles and the bones of the fingers, aiding finger movement.

In addition to extrinsic muscles, there are also intrinsic muscles which originate from, and are only situated within, the hand itself but not the fingers.

While extrinsic muscles are responsible for larger overall movements of the fingers such as bending and straightening, intrinsic muscles are responsible for fine movement and precise motor control.

Take a moment to appreciate your hands, for they truly are an evolutionary marvel!


1. https://www.joionline.net/library/show/muscles-in-the-finger/

2. https://www.assh.org/handcare/safety/muscles

3. https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/natures-masterpiece-how-evolution-gave-us-our-human-hands

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