Anatomy 101: Arteries of the Hand

Arteries are multi-layered tubes that take blood from the heart to other places in the body. There are six arteries that travel into the hand. They are:

Deep Palmar Arch
Named for its shape of an arch, the deep palmar arch is small but important. This vessel sends off small branches to supply blood to the thumb and index finger.

Superficial Palmar Arch
Also named for its shape of an arch, this vessel communicates with the deep palmar arch and also gives off important branches that supply blood to the fingers.  These are called the common digital arteries.

Common Digital Arteries
The common digital arteries are small vessels that come from the palmar arches and supply blood to the fingers.  They are called “common” because when they split to become the proper digital arteries, most of these vessels provide blood to two different fingers.

Digital Arteries to the Thumb
The thumb receives its blood supply from the digital arteries.

Proper Digital Arteries to the Fingers
The proper digital arteries stem from the common digital arteries, right where they split between the fingers. The split feeds blood to two different fingers.  Each finger has two proper digital arteries that run on either side.  If one of these vessels is injured, the others can usually maintain the blood supply to the entire finger.

Learn more about arteries of the upper extremity, including those that run up the arm, by visiting our anatomy page.

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