Elbow Joints

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Chapter: Anatomy and Physiology for Health Professionals: Support and Movement: Articulations

The elbow joints allow only flexion and extension and are stable hinge joints that operate very smoothly.


Elbow Joints

The elbow joints allow only flexion and extension and are stable hinge joints that operate very smoothly. The radius and ulna bones both articulate inside each elbow joint with the condyles of the humerus. The hinge of the elbow joint is formed by the tight gripping of the troch-lea by the trochlear notch of the ulna. Joint stabilization is provided by this structure. The articular capsule is rel-atively loose. It extends inferiorly from the humerus to the radius and ulna and to the annular ligament that surrounds the head of the radius. The humeroulnar joint is the largest and strongest articulation at the elbow.

The articular capsule of the elbow joint is thin both anteriorly and posteriorly. Two strong capsular ligaments restrict horizontal movements: the medial ulnar collateral ligament and the triangular radial collateral ligament on the lateral side. Several arm muscle ligaments also cross the elbow joint to make it more secure. These are the tendons of the biceps and tri-ceps. The radius has less activity in movements of the elbow, but its head rotates inside the annular ligament during both pronation and supination of the forearm.

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