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  • To identify on a human skeleton selected bony features of the elbow and radioulnar joints

  • To label selected bony features on a skeletal chart

  • To draw and label the muscles on a skeletal chart

  • To determine, list, and palpate the muscles of the elbow and radioulnar joints and their antagonists and appreciate the role of the ligaments in providing stability

  • To palpate the muscles on a human subject and list their antagonists

  • To list the planes of motion and their respective axes of rotation

  • To organize and list the muscles that produce the primary movements of the elbow joint and the radioulnar joint

  • To learn and understand the innervation of the elbow and radioulnar joint muscles

  • To determine, through analysis, the elbow and radioulnar joint movements and muscles involved in selected skills and exercises

Almost any movement of the upper extremity will involve the elbow and radioulnar joints. Quite often, these joints are grouped together because of their close anatomical relationship. The elbow joint is intimately associated with the radioulnar joint in that both bones of the radioulnar joint, the radius and ulna, share an articulation with the humerus to form the elbow joint. For this reason, some may confuse motions of the elbow with those of the radioulnar joint. In addition, radioulnar joint motion may be incorrectly attributed to the wrist joint because it appears to occur there. However, with close inspection, movements of the elbow joint can be clearly distinguished from those of the radioulnar joints, just as the radioulnar movements can be distinguished from those of the wrist. Even though the radius and ulna are both part of the articulation with the wrist, the relationship between them is not nearly as intimate as that of the elbow and radioulnar joints.


The ulna is much larger proximally than the radius (Fig. 6.1), but distally the radius is much larger than the ulna. The scapula and humerus serve as the proximal attachments for the muscles that flex and extend the elbow. The ulna and radius serve as the distal attachments for the same muscles. The scapula, humerus and ulna serve as proximal attachments for the muscles that pronate and supinate the radioulnar joints. The distal attachments of the radioulnar joint muscles are located on the radius.

FIG. 6.1

Right elbow joint. A, Anterior view; B, Lateral view; C, Medial view.

The medial supracondylar ridge, olecranon process, coronoid process and radial tuberosity are important bony landmarks for these muscles. Additionally, the medial epicondyle, lateral epicondyle and lateral supracondylar ridge are key bony landmarks for the muscles of the wrist and hand, as discussed in Chapter 7.


The elbow joint is classified as a ginglymus or hinge-type joint ...

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