The arm in the human body is made up of three bones that join together to form a hinge joint called the elbow.
The upper arm bone or humerus connects from the shoulder to the elbow forming the top of the hinge joint. The lower arm or forearm consists of two bones, the radius and the ulna. These bones connect the wrist to the elbow forming the bottom portion of the hinge joint.
The elbow joint is actually three separate joints surrounded by a watertight sac called a joint capsule. This capsule surrounds the elbow joint and contains lubricating fluid called synovial fluid.
The three joints of the elbow include:
- Ulnohumeral joint is where movement between the ulna and humerus occurs.
- Radiohumeral joint is where movement between the radius and humerus occurs.
- Proximal radioulnar joint is where movement between the radius and ulna occurs.
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Our elbow is held in place and supported by various soft tissues.
- Cartilage – Shiny and smooth, cartilage allows smooth movement where two bones come in contact with each other.
- Tendons – Tendons are soft tissue that connects muscles to bones to provide support.
- Biceps Tendon – This tendon attaches the biceps muscle on the front of the arm to the radius allowing suppination, rotation of the elbow.
- Triceps Tendon – This tendon attaches the triceps muscle on the back of the arm to the ulna bone allowing the elbow to straighten.
- Lateral Epicondyle – This bony prominence located just above the elbow on the outside is where the forearm muscles that straighten the fingers and wrist come together in one tendon to attach to the humerus.
- Medial Epicondyle – This bony prominence located just above the elbow on the inside is where the muscles that bend the fingers and wrist come together in one tendon to attach to the humerus.
Ligaments are strong rope like tissue that connects bones to other bones and help hold tendons in place providing stability to joints. Ligaments around the elbow join to form a watertight sac called a joint capsule. This capsule surrounds the elbow joint and contains lubricating fluid called synovial fluid.
Muscles are fibrous tissue capable of contracting to cause body movement.
Nerves are responsible for carrying signals back and forth from the brain to muscles in our body, enabling movement and sensation such as touch, pain, and hot or cold.
The main vessel of the arm is the brachial artery. This artery travels across the inside of the elbow at the bend and then splits into two branches below the elbow.
Bursae are small fluid filled sacs that decrease friction between tendons and bone or skin. Bursae contain special cells called synovial cells that secrete a lubricating fluid. When this fluid becomes infected, a common painful condition known as Bursitis can develop.
Pinehurst Surgical Clinic is a multi-specialty clinic comprised of ten specialty centers located in a state-of-the-art surgical facility in Pinehurst, NC. Our Pinehurst, Raeford, Rockingham, Sanford and Troy clinical offices offer expert orthopaedic care serving patients in Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Sanford, Troy, Rockingham, Raeford, Fort Bragg & Surrounding Areas throughout North and South Carolina, and beyond.