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Elbow

Elbow Anatomy

The elbow is a complex joint formed by the articulation of three bones – the humerus, radius, and ulna. The elbow joint helps in bending or straightening of the arm to 180 degrees and lifting or moving objects.

The bones of the elbow are supported by:

  • Ligaments and tendons
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • Blood vessels

Bones and Joints of the Elbow

The elbow joint is formed at the junction of three bones:

  • The humerus (upper arm bone) forms the upper portion of the joint. The lower end of the humerus divides into two bony protrusions known as the medial and lateral epicondyles, which can be felt on either side of the elbow joint.
  • The ulna is the larger bone of the forearm located on the inner surface of the joint. It articulates with the humerus.
  • The radius is the smaller bone of the forearm situated on the outer surface of the joint. The head of the radius is circular and hollow, which allows movement with the humerus. The articulation between the ulna and radius helps the forearm to rotate.

The elbow consists of three joints, namely:

  • The humeroulnar joint is formed between the humerus and ulna and allows flexion and extension of the arm.
  • The humeroradial joint is formed between the radius and humerus and allows movements like flexion, extension, supination, and pronation.
  • The radioulnar joint is formed between the ulna and radius bones and allows rotation of the lower arm.

Articular cartilage lines the articulating regions of the humerus, radius, and ulna. It is a thin, tough, flexible and slippery surface that acts as a shock absorber and cushion to reduce friction between the bones. The cartilage is lubricated with synovial fluid, which further enables the smooth movement of the bones.

Muscles of the Elbow Joint

There are several muscles extending across the elbow joint that help in various movements. These include the following:

  • Biceps brachii: Upper arm muscle, enabling flexion of the arm
  • Triceps brachii: Muscle in the back of the upper arm that extends the arm and fixes the elbow during fine movements
  • Brachialis: Upper arm muscle beneath the biceps, which flexes the elbow towards the body
  • Brachioradialis: Forearm muscle that flexes, straightens and pulls the arm at the elbow
  • Pronator teres: Muscle that extends from the humeral head, across the elbow, and towards the ulna, and helps to turn the palm facing backward
  • Extensor carpi radialis brevis: Forearm muscle that helps in movement of the hand
  • Extensor digitorum: Forearm muscle that helps in movement of the fingers

Ligaments and Tendons of the Elbow

The elbow joint is supported by ligaments and tendons, which provide stability to the joint.

Ligaments are a group of firm tissues that connect bones to other bones. The most important ligaments of the elbow joint are the:

  • Medial or ulnar collateral ligament: Comprised of triangular bands of tissue on the inner side of the elbow joint
  • Lateral or radial collateral ligament: A thin band of tissue on the outer side of the elbow joint
  • Annular ligament: Group of fibers that surround the radial head, and hold the ulna and radius tightly in place during movement of the arm

Together, the medial and lateral ligaments are the main source of stability and hold the humerus and ulna tightly in place during movement of the arm.

The ligaments around a joint combine to form a joint capsule that contains synovial fluid.

Any injury to these ligaments can lead to instability of the elbow joint.

Tendons are bands of connective tissue fibers that connect muscle to bone. The various tendons that surround the elbow joint include:

  • Biceps tendon: attaches the biceps muscle to the radius, allowing the elbow to bend
  • Triceps tendon: attaches the triceps muscle to the ulna, allowing the elbow to straighten

Nerves of the Elbow

The main nerves of the elbow joint are the ulnar, radial and median nerves. These nerves transfer signals from the brain to the muscles that aid in elbow movements. They also carry sensory signals such as touch, pain, and temperature back to the brain.

Any injury or damage to these nerves causes pain, weakness or joint instability.

Blood Vessels Supplying the Elbow

Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-pure blood from the heart to the hand. The main artery of the elbow is the brachial artery that travels across the inside of the elbow and divides into two small branches below the elbow to form the ulnar and the radial artery.

Conditions

Elbow Trauma

Elbow Trauma

The elbow is a complex joint of the upper limb, formed by the articulation of the long bone of the upper arm or humerus, and the two bones of the forearm - the radius and ulna. It is one of the important joints of the upper limb and is involved in basic movements such as bending and extending the arm and rotating the forearm.

Elbow Arthritis

Elbow Arthritis

Although the elbows are not weight-bearing joints, they are considered to be most important for the functioning of the upper limbs. Hence, even minor trauma or disease affecting the elbow may cause pain and limit the movements of the upper limbs. Arthritis is one of the common disease conditions affecting the elbow joint.

Bicep Tendon Tear at the Elbow

Bicep Tendon Tear at the Elbow

The biceps muscle, located in the front of the upper arm allows you to bend the elbow and rotate the arm. Biceps tendons attach the biceps muscle to the bones in the shoulder and in the elbow. The biceps tendon that attaches the muscle at the elbow is known as the distal biceps tendon.

Elbow Dislocation

Elbow Dislocation

The arm in the human body is made up of three bones that join to form a hinge joint called the elbow. The upper arm bone or humerus connects from the shoulder to the elbow to form 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.

Triceps Tendonitis

Triceps Tendonitis

Triceps tendonitis is inflammation of the triceps tendon, the tissue that connects the triceps muscle on the back of the upper arm to the back of the elbow joint, allowing you to straighten your arm back after you have bent it.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (Ulnar Nerve Entrapment)

The ulnar nerve travels down the back of the elbow behind a bony bump called the medial epicondyle, and through a passageway called the cubital tunnel. The cubital tunnel is a narrow passageway on the inside of the elbow formed by bone, muscle, and ligaments. The roof of the cubital tunnel is covered with a soft tissue called fascia.

Elbow Bursitis

Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis

The elbow contains a large, curved, pointy bone at the back called the olecranon, which is covered by the olecranon bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that allows smooth movement between the bone and overlying skin.

Osteochondritis Dissecans of Elbow

Osteochondritis Dissecans of Elbow

Osteochondritis dissecans is a joint condition in which a piece of cartilage, along with a thin layer of bone separates because of inadequate blood supply. The separated fragments are sometimes called “joint mice”. These fragments may be localized or may detach and fall into the joint space, causing pain and joint instability.

Elbow Sprain

Elbow Sprain

The elbow is a complex hinge joint formed by the articulation of three bones - humerus, radius and ulna. The upper arm bone or humerus connects the shoulder to the elbow, forming the upper portion of the hinge joint. The lower arm consists of two bones, the radius, and the ulna.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow

The elbow is a joint made up of three bones: the upper arm bone, the humerus, and the two forearm bones, the radius and ulna. The lower end of the humerus has bony bumps called epicondyles that serve as sites of attachment for major tendons and muscles that help in arm movement.

Golfer's Elbow

Golfer's Elbow

The elbow is a joint made up of three bones: the upper arm bone, the humerus, and the two forearm bones, the radius and ulna. The lower end of the humerus has bony bumps called epicondyles that serve as sites of attachment for major tendons and muscles that help in arm movement.

Elbow Injuries

Elbow Injuries

The elbow is a complex joint formed by the articulation of three bones – the humerus, radius, and ulna. Articular cartilage lines the articulating regions of the humerus, radius, and ulna. It is a thin, tough, flexible and slippery surface that acts as a shock absorber and cushion to reduce friction between the bones.

Little League Elbow

Little League Elbow

Little league elbow, also called medial apophysitis, is an overuse condition that occurs when there is overstress or injury to the inside portion of the elbow. It is commonly seen in children involved in sports activities that require repetitive throwing such as baseball.

Nursemaid's Elbow

Nursemaid's Elbow

The elbow is a complex joint formed by the articulation of three bones – the humerus, radius, and ulna. The elbow joint helps in bending or straightening of the arm to 180 degrees and lifting or moving objects.

Elbow Pain

Elbow Pain

The elbow is a hinge joint made up of 3 bones – the humerus, radius, and ulna. The bones are held together by ligaments to provide stability to the joint. Muscles and tendons move the bones around each other and help in performing various movements. Nerves pass through the joint.

Elbow Contracture

Elbow Contracture

Elbow contracture refers to a stiff elbow with a limited range of motion. It is a common complication following elbow surgery, fractures, dislocations, and burns.

Distal Humerus Fractures of the Elbow

Distal Humerus Fractures of the Elbow

The elbow is a region between the upper arm and forearm. The elbow joint is made up of 3 bones. The distal (lower) end of the humerus bone in the upper arm joins with the radius and ulna bones in the forearm to form the elbow joint. The elbow joint is very important for the movement of your arms and for coordination of daily activities.

Elbow Fractures in Children

Elbow Fractures in Children

The arm in the human body is made up of three bones that join to form a hinge joint called the elbow. The upper arm bone or humerus connects from the shoulder to the elbow to form 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.

Radial Head Fractures of the Elbow

Radial Head Fractures of the Elbow

The elbow joint is essential for the movement of your arms and to perform daily activities. The head of the radius bone is cup-shaped and corresponds to the spherical surface of the humerus. The injury in the head of the radius causes impairment in the function of the elbow.

Elbow Fractures

Elbow Fractures

Elbow fractures may occur from trauma, resulting from various reasons: a fall on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the elbow or an abnormal twist to the joint beyond its functional limit.

Hyperextension Injury of the Elbow

Hyperextension Injury of the Elbow

Hyperextension injury of the elbow occurs when the elbow joint is bent beyond its normal range of motion, causing damage to the bones and ligaments of the elbow. It may also cause elbow dislocation. The condition is more common in tennis, football, weight-lifting and contact sports.

Loose Bodies in the Elbow

Loose Bodies in the Elbow

Your elbow is a joint made up of three bones held together by muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. It is both a hinge and pivot joint allowing you to bend and rotate your elbow freely. Loose bodies in your elbow are small pieces of bone or cartilage that have broken off and are lying or floating free within the joint.

Throwing Injuries

Throwing Injuries

An athlete uses an overhand throw to achieve greater speed and distance. Repeated throwing in sports such as baseball and basketball can place a lot of stress on the joints of the arm, and lead to weakening and ultimately, injury to the structures in the elbow.

Procedures

Distal Biceps Repair

Distal Biceps Repair

The biceps is a large muscle located in the front of your upper arm and runs from the shoulder to the elbow joint. It is attached to the bones of the shoulder and elbow by tendons. The distal biceps is the area where the biceps is attached to the forearm bone in the elbow.

ORIF of the Humerus Fractures

ORIF of the Humerus Fractures

A humerus fracture is a condition that occurs when there is a break in the humerus or upper arm bone that commonly occurs as a result of severe trauma. Fracture of the humerus can affect the movement and function of your arm as well as your work and activities of daily living. Humerus fractures are quite common and occur in individuals of all ages from children to the elderly.

Radial Head ORIF and Replacement

Radial Head ORIF and Replacement

Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of the radial head is a surgical technique employed for the treatment of a radial head fracture to restore normal anatomy and improve range of motion and function.

Common Extensor Tendon Origin Repair

Common Extensor Tendon Origin Repair

The common extensor tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that attaches to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (long bone in the upper arm) at the elbow. Rupture or tear of the common extensor tendon is the most common acute tendon injury of the elbow.

Surgical Treatment

Total Elbow Replacement

Total Elbow Replacement

The arm in the human body is made up of three bones that join to form a hinge joint called the elbow. The upper arm bone or humerus connects from the shoulder to the elbow to form 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.

Elbow Arthroscopy

Elbow Arthroscopy

The elbow is a complex hinge joint formed by the articulation of three bones - humerus, radius and ulna. The upper arm bone or humerus connects the shoulder to the elbow forming the upper portion of the hinge joint. The lower arm consists of two bones, the radius, and the ulna.

ORIF of the Coronoid Fractures

ORIF of the Coronoid Fractures

Coronoid fractures are a break in the coronoid process of the ulna due to trauma or injury. A coronoid fracture of the ulna is a complex intraarticular fracture that is difficult to expose due to complex surrounding anatomical structures.

Elbow Ligament Reconstruction

Elbow Ligament Reconstruction

The elbow is a complex joint of the upper limb formed by the articulation of the long bone of the upper arm or humerus and the two bones of the forearm, namely, radius and ulna. It is one of the important joints of the upper limb and is involved in basic movements such as flexion and extension of the upper limb and rotation of the forearm.

UCL Reconstruction

UCL Reconstruction

The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), also called medial collateral ligament, is located on the inside of the elbow and connects the ulna bone to the humerus bone. It is one of the main stabilizing ligaments in the elbow, especially with overhead activities such as throwing and pitching.

Tennis Elbow Surgery

Tennis Elbow Surgery

The elbow is a joint made up of three bones: the upper arm bone, the humerus, and the two forearm bones, the radius and ulna. The lower end of the humerus has bony bumps called epicondyles that serve as sites of attachment for major tendons and muscles that help in arm movement.

ORIF of Distal Radius Fracture

ORIF of Distal Radius Fracture

The forearm consists of two bones, the radius and ulna. The radius is the larger of the two forearm bones, and the region towards the wrist is called the distal end. A fracture or break in the distal end of the radius bone is known as a distal radius fracture.

Elbow Fracture Reconstruction

Elbow Fracture Reconstruction

Elbow fracture reconstruction is a surgical procedure employed to repair and restore the appearance and full function of a damaged elbow caused by severe trauma or injury. This may include repairing damaged structures or replacing missing or damaged structures with adjoining skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, or nerves to restore the appearance and function.

Ulnar Nerve Transposition

Ulnar Nerve Transposition

The ulnar nerve is one of the 3 main nerves in the arm that travels down from the neck through a bony protuberance inside the elbow (medial epicondyle), under the muscles of the forearm and down the hand on the side of the palm, towards the little finger. The ulnar nerve helps in controlling most of the hand muscles which carry out fine movements as well as some bigger forearm muscles which help in making a strong grip.

ORIF of the Distal Humerus Fractures

ORIF of the Distal Humerus Fractures

A distal humerus fracture is a condition that occurs when there is a break in the lower end of the humerus bone that commonly occurs as a result of severe trauma. Fracture of the distal humerus can affect the movement and function of your arm as well as your work and activities of daily living. Distal humerus fractures are quite common and occur in individuals of all ages from children to the elderly.

ORIF of the Olecranon Fractures

ORIF of the Olecranon Fractures

Olecranon fractures are described as a break in the bony tip of the elbow that sticks out when you bend your arm. A fracture of the olecranon bone can be very painful and make motion of the elbow difficult or impossible. This kind of fracture is common and normally happens in isolation (with no other injuries involved).

Golfer's Elbow Surgery

Golfer's Elbow Surgery

Golfer’s elbow is a condition associated with pain on the inside of the elbow where tendons of your forearm attach to the bony prominence (medial epicondyle). It is also called medial epicondylitis and is caused by injury or irritation to the tendons which can become painful and swollen.