It turns out I knew nothing about the back of my hand

By Jo Nova

It’s a fantastic piece of engineering

Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body

Last week my EPL tendon went snafu. For no reason, my left thumb just stopped doing what it always has. It didn’t hurt, but it didn’t work. It was rather disconcerting. I wondered if it was the first sign of some hideous degenerative nerve condition that would put me in a wheelchair. But after searching with the dreaded Dr Google, I figured out I’d just torn the EPL tendon. Who knew tendons can wear away painlessly and break? Who knew we can diagnose these things without an xray, just with an eyeball? So, I had surgery in hospital yesterday to fix it.

I looked at anatomy drawings and it dawned on me, we can see all the tendons on the back of our hands if we flex them the right way in the right light. And by golly, my right thumb had two tendons, but my left only had one. It was so obvious. Have a look at your own hand. We have two long tendons running down the back of your index finger and pickie* (though these look like […]