The elbow joint is the convergence of bones, ligaments and muscles that enable the flexion, extension, pronation, and supination of the arm. Within the single elbow joint capsule, there are three distinct interfaces, which are often considered to be individual joints, allowing for these different types of movement. The primary function of the elbow is allowing for the placement of the hand with the extension and rotation of the arm. Understanding the anatomy of the elbow will ultimately help patients in determining the source of their pain.
The following components are all integral pieces of the functioning elbow:
Confining the elbow joint components, the joint capsule, or synovial membrane, provides the elbow stability. It is thickened on its side by ligaments and is reinforced by muscle fibers on the front surface.
There are three bones intersecting at the elbow:
The elbow joint can be divided into three articulations:
The three primary ligaments supporting the elbow are:
The primary function of the muscles surrounding the elbow is the empowerment of the elbow’s flexion, extension, supination and pronation movements.
The individual components of the elbow work together to allow for the following average ranges of motion, by movement type: