carpal bones (mnemonic)

Mnemonics of the carpal bones are numerous and useful for memorizing the order and location of the bones.

Some mnemonics name the carpal bones in a circle, starting with the proximal row from the scaphoid towards the pinky (small finger) and then the distal row starting from the hamate towards the thumb:

  • So Long To Pinky, Here Comes The Thumb
  • Straight Line To Pinky, Here Comes The Thumb

Other mnemonics describe the position of the carpal bones from the radial to the ulnar side, for both rows, proximal then distal:

  • Sam Likes To Push, The Toy Car Hard
  • Sally Left The Party, To Take Cathy Home
  • Some Lovers Try Positions, That They Cannot Handle
  • She Likes To Play, Try To Catch Her


Bones are named related to their shape, which can be additionally useful for identification:

  • scaphoid: boat-shaped on frontal view
  • lunate: moon/crescent-shaped on lateral view
  • triquetrum: triangular
  • pisiform: pea-shaped
  • hamate: with a hook
  • capitate: head-shaped, large and central
  • trapezoid and trapezium: table-shaped (four-sided)

Additional mnemonics help distinguish the carpal bones that start with T:

  • trapezium is under the thumb (articulating with the first metacarpal)
  • trapezoid is inside (surrounded by four other bones)
Anatomy: Upper limb

Anatomy: Upper limb

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