The human hand is a complex organ serving the functions of grip and touch. The mechanoreceptors of the hand can be categorised into those located within skin and subcutaneous tissues and those associated with joints and muscles providing the central nervous system with information about position of movement of hand and fingers. In addition to mechanoreceptors there are numerous free nerve endings reacting to thermal and/or painful stimuli generally referred to as polymodal nociceptors. They are found in the connective tissue of the locomotion apparatus as well as the skin and even enter the epidermis. Morphologically these are terminal branches of afferent nerve fibres without any specific structures around these ‘free’ nerve endings in marked contrast to the different types of mechanoreceptors.


Muscle Spindle Glabrous Skin Pacinian Corpuscle Golgi Tendon Organ Intrafusal Fibre 
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Selected readings

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zdenek Halata
    • 1
    • 2
  • Klaus I. Baumann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Experimental MorphologyUniversity of HamburgUKEHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy, First Faculty of MedicineCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic

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