It is possible to bend each finger without bending any other, except one for most people. It is more difficult for the ring finger, but when I try to bend my little finger independently my ring finger bends as well. I don't know if this is because of the muscle or bone configuration, but I'm interested in the answer.

Is it possible to bend the little finger independently, and if so why is it so hard to do so?

  • $\begingroup$ I can bend all fingers individually and keep all other fingers straight at the same time. So... practice more. :-) $\endgroup$
    – AnoE
    Nov 29, 2016 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @AnoE lucky! I certainly can't $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2016 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Anoe edited to 'most people'. You're obviously an exception :P $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2016 at 14:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Cheers for making me feel exceptional! $\endgroup$
    – AnoE
    Nov 29, 2016 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Sirens wow, I had no idea so many could! I guess that may depend on for instance if it was like a musical school, and they’ve played piano, or perhaps at a certain age it gets easier. Very interesting though! $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2018 at 10:19

2 Answers 2


This does not have to be the case always, For example if you are a pianist you need all your finger to work independently.

OK, So coming to the main question.

In simple words, They are all interconnected. See the image [Source: Google Images]

enter image description here

They share flexor tendons (The flexor tendons allow you to bend your fingers) , If you try to move one, other is objected to come along.

Yes it is possible, As I mentioned before if you are a pianist, you don't have much choice. It is possible by little bit training.

  • $\begingroup$ I can move and bend them individually but if I try to take any one (of above 2) finger up to palm I fail. Does pianists can move that individual fingers up to palm? or they too face some degree of this connection? $\endgroup$
    – user25568
    Nov 29, 2016 at 10:12
  • $\begingroup$ @AlwaysConfused, it is like other areas where you can be more or less flexible (like doing the splits or whatever). I can bring all fingertips to the palm individually, but I also stretch my hands/lower arms etc. in all kinds of ways due to several kinds of sports where that is necessary. $\endgroup$
    – AnoE
    Nov 29, 2016 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ The image that you have posted is the extensor group of muscles...change the image to the one showing the flexor group $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Nov 30, 2016 at 1:04
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a references that pianists can actually make their pinky and ring finger move 100% independently? I play piano and moving my pinky does influence my ring finger, but it is not at all an issue since they are independent enough. Playing the piano is essentially the same as typing on a computer keyboard, which all of us apparently can do fine, even with our pinky fingers. $\endgroup$
    – A L
    Dec 6, 2016 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ To follow up on @biogirl's comment, an image like upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d1/… would also be clearer and easier to see! $\endgroup$
    – Gaurav
    Dec 12, 2016 at 6:50

To shed some light on why this is happening in the first place, it may be helpful to understand the innervation of the muscles on these fingers.

There are two nerves that innervate the little finger, both branches of the superficial ulnar nerve. One of them is exclusive to the little finger, but the other (the common palmar digital nerve) actually branches again and innervates both sides of the gap between your little finger and ring finger. This explains why contracting your little finger muscles causes some (but not complete) contraction of your ring finger.

These connections can be modified and trained with practice, like many other movements we can improve with practice.

Image from source below.

Iannotti, Joseph P, and Parker, Richard. Netter Green Book Collection : The Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations: Musculoskeletal System, Volume 6, Part I - Upper Limb, Volume Vol. 6 : Musculoskeletal System, Volume 6, Part I - Upper Limb (2). Saint Louis, US: Saunders, 2012. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 29 November 2016.


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