Frank Netter, Courtesy Ciba Pharmaceutical Co.

The human palm, nailed to the cross, can support several hundred pounds of weight if the nail follows a path through certain muscles and bones. First, the nail must enter the palm through a furrow called the thenar furrow (left). The thenar furrow is located at the base of the thenar eminence muscles.

A nail hammered into the palm at the thenar furrow would break no bones; instead it would pass through a space that the author calls the “Z” area (right). This area lies between three bones— the metacarpal bone of the index finger and the capitate and lesser multangular bones of the wrist. Another area, called Destot’s Space, could also allow fixation to a cross.