Humerus

Humerus: Anatomy & FunctionKey facts about the anatomy of the humerus
~ 3 min

Let us examine the structure of the humerus (humerus).

Humerus (humerus)
Humerus (humerus)

It is a long tubular bone with several main parts:

  • Body (corpus humeri / diaphysis)

Body (corpus humeri / diaphysis)
Body (corpus humeri / diaphysis)
  • Proximal epiphysis (epiphysis proximalis)

    Proximal epiphysis (epiphysis proximalis)
    Proximal epiphysis (epiphysis proximalis)
  • Distal epiphysis (epiphysis distalis)

    Distal epiphysis (epiphysis distalis)
    Distal epiphysis (epiphysis distalis)

    We also distinguish between several surfaces (best seen in the area of the diaphysis of the bone):

  • Anterolateral surface (facies anterolateralis)

    Anterolateral surface (facies anterolateralis)
    Anterolateral surface (facies anterolateralis)
  • Anteromedial surface (facies anteromedialis)

    Anteromedial surface (facies anteromedialis)
    Anteromedial surface (facies anteromedialis)
  • Posterior surface (facies posterior)

    Posterior surface (facies posterior)
    Posterior surface (facies posterior)

    There are also two margins:

  • Lateral margin (margo lateralis)

    Lateral margin (margo lateralis)
    Lateral margin (margo lateralis)
  • Medial margin (margo medialis)

    Medial margin (margo medialis)
    Medial margin (margo medialis)

    On the proximal epiphysis is a prominence — the head of the humerus (caput humeri).

    Head of the humerus (caput humeri)
    Head of the humerus (caput humeri)

    And on the margin of the head there is a small groove — the anatomical neck (collum anatomicum).

    Anatomical neck (collum anatomicum)
    Anatomical neck (collum anatomicum)

    We also distinguish the surgical neck (collum chirurgicum), the thinnest place of the humerus, where the most frequent fractures occur.

    Surgical neck (collum chirurgicum)
    Surgical neck (collum chirurgicum)

    Near the head are two tubercles, the greater tubercle (tuberculum majus) and the lesser tubercle (tuberculum minus), to which various muscles are attached.

    Greater tubercle (tuberculum majus)
    Greater tubercle (tuberculum majus)
    Lesser tubercle (tuberculum minus)
    Lesser tubercle (tuberculum minus)

    The crest of the greater tubercle (crista tuberculi majoris) and the crest of the lesser tubercle (crista tuberculi minoris) depart downward from these tubercles.

    They also have muscles attached to them.

    Between the tubercles and the crests lies the intertubercular sulcus (sulcus intertubercularis). The tendon of the long head of the biceps passes through it.

    Crest of the greater tubercle (crista tuberculi majoris)
    Crest of the greater tubercle (crista tuberculi majoris)
    Crest of the lesser tubercle (crista tuberculi minoris)
    Crest of the lesser tubercle (crista tuberculi minoris)
    Intertubercular sulcus (sulcus intertubercularis)
    Intertubercular sulcus (sulcus intertubercularis)

    Lateral to the crests of the greater tubercle is the deltoid tuberosity (tuberositas deltoidea), to which the deltoid is attached.

    Deltoid tuberosity (tuberositas deltoidea)
    Deltoid tuberosity (tuberositas deltoidea)

    The radial groove (sulcus nervi radialis), in which this nerve passes, can be distinguished on the body of the bone. The groove “wraps” around the bone and ends below at the lateral margin.

    Radial groove (sulcus nervi radialis)
    Radial groove (sulcus nervi radialis)

    In the area of the distal epiphysis, the bone expands again to form the so-called condyle of the humerus (condylus humeri).

    Condyle of the humerus (condylus humeri).
    Condyle of the humerus (condylus humeri).

    It consists of two parts:

  • The trochlea of the humerus (trochlea humeri), connecting to the ulna

    Trochlea of the humerus (trochlea humeri)
    Trochlea of the humerus (trochlea humeri)
  • The capitulum (capitulum humeri), which is connected to the radius

Capitulum (capitulum humeri)
Capitulum (capitulum humeri)

At the front above the block lies the coronoid fossa (fossa coronoidea), into which the coronoid process of the ulna enters when the upper extremity is flexed.

Coronoid fossa (fossa coronoidea)
Coronoid fossa (fossa coronoidea)

Above the head of the condyle is the radial fossa (fossa radialis).

Radial fossa (fossa radialis)
Radial fossa (fossa radialis)

The olecranon fossa (fossa olecrani) can be found behind the condyle, into which the olecranon enters when the upper extremity is flexed.

Olecranon fossa (fossa olecrani)
Olecranon fossa (fossa olecrani)

Above the condyle of the humerus on both sides are the so-called epicondyli. These are the medial epicondyle (epicondylus medialis) and the lateral epicondyle (epicondylus lateralis).

Medial epicondyle (epicondylus medialis)
Medial epicondyle (epicondylus medialis)
Lateral epicondyle (epicondylus lateralis)
Lateral epicondyle (epicondylus lateralis)

The groove for the ulnar nerve (sulcus nervi ulnaris) is on the posterior surface of the medial epicondyle.

Groove for the ulnar nerve (sulcus nervi ulnaris)
Groove for the ulnar nerve (sulcus nervi ulnaris)

Both epicondyli continue upward into their respective ridges, the medial supracondylar ridge (crista supracondylaris medialis) and the lateral supracondylar ridge (crista supracondylaris lateralis).

Medial supracondylar ridge (crista supracondylaris medialis)
Medial supracondylar ridge (crista supracondylaris medialis)
Lateral supracondylar ridge (crista supracondylaris lateralis)
Lateral supracondylar ridge (crista supracondylaris lateralis)
Dictionary

Humerus

humerus
humerus
corpus humeri/diaphysis
body of humerus/diaphysis
epiphysis proximalis
proximal epiphysis
epiphysis distalis
distal epiphysis
facies anterolateralis
anterolateral surface
facies anteromedialis
anteromedial surface
facies posterior
posterior surface
margo lateralis
lateral border
margo medialis
medial border
caput humeri
head of humerus
collum anatomicum
anatomical neck
collum chirurgicum
surgical neck
tuberculum majus
greater tubercle
tuberculum minus
lesser tubercle
crista tuberculi majoris
crest of greater tubercle
crista tuberculi minoris
crest of lesser tubercle
sulcus intertubercularis
intertubercular sulcus
tuberositas deltoidea
deltoid tuberosity
sulcus nervi radialis
radial groove
condylus humeri
condyle of humerus
trochlea humeri
trochlea of humerus
capitulum humeri
capitulum
fossa coronoidea
coronoid fossa
fossa radialis
radial fossa
fossa olecrani
olecranon fossa
epicondylus medialis
medial epicondyle
epicondylus lateralis
lateral epicondyle
sulcus nervi ulnaris
groove for ulnar nerve
crista supracondylaris medialis
medial supracondylar ridge
crista supracondylaris lateralis
lateral supracondylar ridge
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