Hand series

The hand series consists of a posteroanterior, oblique, and a lateral projection. Although additional radiographs can be taken for specific indications.

The series primarily examines the radiocarpal and distal radioulnar joints, the carpals, metacarpals and phalanges.


Hand x-rays are indicated for a variety of settings, including:


Standard projections
  • PA view
    • demonstrates the metacarpals, phalanges, radius and ulna in the natural anatomical position
    • excellent view to inspect the metacarpals
    • ideal for identifying early signs of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • oblique view
    • external oblique projection of the hand
  • lateral view
    • projection 90° to the PA view demonstrates multiple carpal bones overlapping, often used to determine fracture displacement
    • used to localize foreign bodies
Additional projections
  • lateral fan view
    • offers a view of the individual middle and distal phalanges, avoiding overlap
  • lateral flexion view
  • ball-catcher view (also known as Nørgaard projection)
    • specialized view used to demonstrate the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints, often requested in the context of rheumatoid arthritis
Radiographic views
Share article

Article information

rID: 29804
Section: Radiography
Tag: shetty
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Hand series radiographs
  • Hand series x rays

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: hand series
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 2: normal ballcatcher view
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 3: annotated hand PA view
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 4: annotated hand oblique view
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.