Long ago the hands were discovered as a diagnostic tool, and therefore it is not surprizing that many great philosophers have described the significance of hands! Today hands can be used as a diagnostic instrument in order to recognize various medical & psychiatric disorders, such as: schizophrenia, diabetes mellitus, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Marfan syndrome, fragile-x syndrome & Down syndrome. How come?

A few quotes from respected philosophers describing the philosophical importance of hands:

Aristotle (384BC - 322BC)

Aristotle, the Greek philosopher said about the hand:

“… (the hand) is the organ of the organs, the active agent of the passive powers”

Sir Charles Bell (1774-1842).

Sir Charles Bell, the Scottish surgeon said:

“The hand is essentially the organ of the mind, the medium of its expression, and the Instrument whereby its promptings are carried into execution”

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961).

Carl Gust Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist said:

“Chirology [hand reading] is an art which dates back to very ancient times. The ancient physician never hesitated to make use of such
auxiliary systems as chiromancy and astrology for diagnostic and prognostic purposes as is shown, for instance, by the book of Dr. Goclenius who lived at the end of the sixteenth century. … The totality-conception of modern biology which is based on the evidence of a host of observations and research does not exclude the possibility that hands, whose shape and functioning are so intimately connected with the psyche, might provide revealing and therefore, interpretable expressions of psychical peculiarity, that is, of the human character. …”

Today, the hand can be used to study the significance of hand signs in the perspective of quite a few syndromes, diseases, and psychiatric disorders. You can check out many more details about dozens of hand signs via the sources below:

34 Hand signs in Diabetes Mellitus (type 1 & 2)

29 Hand signs in Down syndrome (trisomy 21)

30 Hands signs in Fragile-X syndrome

5 Hand signs in Marfan syndrome

24 Hand signs in Psoriasis

28 Hand signs in Rheumatoid Arthritis

37 Hand signs in Schizophrenia 

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A trigger finger is a common disorder of later adulthood characterized by catching, snapping or locking of the involved finger flexor tendon, associated with dysfunction and pain. In the video above hand surgeon Dr. Neema Amin (John Randolph Medical Center) describes treatment options and when to seek medical attention when the trigger finger gets more frequent or painful.

What causes trigger finger – a.k.a. stenosing tenosynovitis?

Causes for this condition are not always clear. Some trigger fingers are associated with medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes. Local trauma to the palm/base of the finger may be a factor on occasion, but in most cases there is not a clear cause.

Learn more about the role of a trigger finger in a hand assessment for Diabetes Mellitus or Rheumatoid Arthritis:

28 Hand characteristics in Rheumatoid Arthritis
33 Hand characteristics in Diabetes Millitus