An X-ray of the hand is a safe and painless test to visualise the bones of the hand and the soft tissues (skin and muscles) surrounding it using small amount of radiation. The bones of the hand includes the carpals (wrist bones), the metacarpals (bones between the wrist and fingers) and phalanges (bones of fingers). The image is recorded on a special X-ray film. The X-ray image is black and white. Dense structures such as the bones, appear white and softer body tissues, such as the skin and muscles appear darker. The actual exposure time to radiation is usually less than a second, although the overall test may take 15-20 minutes.