Anatomy of the Elbow

The elbow is a complex joint that connects the bone of the arm (humerus) and the two bones of the forearm (radius and ulna). It allows a great amplitude of movements with two main functions : the flexion (bend the arm) and the pronation - supination (movements of rotation).

The articulation of the elbow is formed by the joining of three bones : the humerus (upper arm bone), the ulna (forearm bone on the auricular side), and the radius (forearm bone on the thumb side).

  • Humerus and ulna form a hinge for bending movements.
  • Humerus and radius allow rotational movements

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This articular complex unites four main muscle groups :

  • Elbow flexors
  • Elbow extender (the triceps)
  • Lateral epicondyle muscles allowing the extension of the wrist and the fingers as well as the supination (palm up)
  • Epitrochlear muscles allowing flexion of the wrist and fingers and pronation (palm down)

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The median, radial and ulnar nerves pass through this narrow articulation to move towards the hand, they have a major role and make the surgery of the elbow particularly technical and delicate.