Name of bone



The capitate bone is the largest of the carpal bones of the wrist, occupying the center of the wrist. It has three sections: the head (proximal surface), which is convex to fit with the concavity formed by the scaphoid and lunate bones; the neck, which is the constricted section; and a body.

The capitate articulates with seven bones:

  • The scaphoid and lunate proximally
  • The second metacarpal, third metacarpal, and fourth metacarpal distally
  • The lesser multangular on the radial side
  • The hamate on the ulnar side.

The etymology derives from the Latin capitatus, “having a head,” from capit-, meaning “head.”

Muscle and ligament attachments

Surface anatomy

  • The superior surface is round and smooth; it articulates with the lunate bone.
  • The inferior surface is divided by two ridges into three facets for articulation with the second, third, and fourth metacarpal bones; the facet for the third metacarpal bone is the largest.
  • The dorsal surface is broad and rough.
  • The volar surface is narrow, rounded, and rough for the attachment of ligaments and a part of the adductor pollicis muscle.
  • The lateral surface articulates with the lesser multangular by a small facet at its anterior inferior angle, behind which is a rough depression for the attachment of an interosseous ligament. Above this is a deep, rough groove, forming part of the neck and allowing for the attachment of ligaments. It is bounded superiorly by a smooth, convex surface for articulation with the navicular.
  • The medial surface articulates with the hamate by a smooth, concave, oblong facet, which occupies its posterior and superior parts. It is rough in front for the attachment of an interosseous ligament.

Figure 1. Surface anatomy of the left capitate bone.


Physical examination





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