The interphalangeal joints of hand are hinge-joints; each has a volar and two collateral ligaments. The arrangement of these ligaments is similar to those in the metacarpophalangeal articulations. The Extensor tendons supply the place of posterior ligaments.
There are two sets (except in the thumb):
Anatomically, the proximal and distal interphalangeal articulations are very similar. There are some minor differences in how the volar plates are attached proximally and in the segmentation of the flexor tendon sheath, but the major differences are the smaller dimension and reduced mobility of the distal joint.
Movements.—The only movements permitted in the interphalangeal joints are flexion and extension; these movements are more extensive between the first and second phalanges than between the second and third. The amount of flexion is very considerable, but extension is limited by the volar and collateral ligaments.
Muscles Acting on the Joints of the Digits.—Flexion of the metacarpophalangeal joints of the fingers is effected by the Flexores digitorum sublimis and profundus, Lumbricales, and Interossei, assisted in the case of the little finger by the Flexor digiti quinti brevis. Extension is produced by the Extensor digitorum communis, Extensor indicis proprius, and Extensor digiti quinti proprius.
Flexion of the interphalangeal joints of the fingers is accomplished by the Flexor digitorum profundus acting on the proximal and distal joints and by the Flexor digitorum sublimis acting on the proximal joints. Extension is effected mainly by the Lumbricales and Interossei, the long Extensors having little or no action upon these joints.
Flexion of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb is effected by the Flexores pollicis longus and brevis; extension by the Extensores pollicis longus and brevis. Flexion of the interphalangeal joint is accomplished by the Flexor pollicis longus, and extension by the Extensor pollicis longus.