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Bones of the upper limb
Fascia, vessels and nerves of the upper limb
Anatomy of the brachial plexus
Anatomy of the pectoral and scapular regions
Anatomy of the arm
Muscles of the forearm
Vessels and nerves of the forearm
Muscles of the hand
Anatomy of the sternoclavicular and acromioclavicular joints
Anatomy of the glenohumeral joint
Anatomy of the elbow joint
Anatomy of the radioulnar joints
Joints of the wrist and hand
Anatomy of the axilla
Anatomy clinical correlates: Clavicle and shoulder
Anatomy clinical correlates: Axilla
Anatomy clinical correlates: Arm, elbow and forearm
Anatomy clinical correlates: Wrist and hand
Anatomy clinical correlates: Median, ulnar and radial nerves
Anatomy of the arm
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Evode Iradufasha, MD
Sam Gillespie, BSc
Jennifer Montague, PhD
Ursula Florjanczyk, MScBMC
Anatomically speaking, the arm is the part of the upper limb that is between the shoulder and the elbow joint.
It has only one bone called the humerus, and an intricate network of muscles, vessels and nerves distributed around it.
The arm muscles are divided into two compartments separated by the humerus and the medial and lateral intermuscular septae.
The first one is the anterior compartment, and this one houses muscles responsible for elbow flexion. So it’s not a surprise that the anterior compartment is also called the flexor compartment.
Then there’s the posterior compartment. This one houses muscles responsible for elbow extension. So it’s also called the extensor compartment.
These two compartments mainly act on the elbow joint, but some muscles can also act on the glenohumeral joint.
Now, the anterior compartment contains three muscles: the biceps brachii or simply the biceps; the brachialis; and the coracobrachialis muscles. The biceps muscle usually has two heads, a short head and a long head.
The short head attaches to the coracoid process of the scapula and descends anteromedially to the head of the humerus, while the long head attaches to the supraglenoid process of the scapula and descends in the intertubercular or bicipital groove.
It is held in the bicipital groove by the transverse humeral ligament, which extends from the lesser to the greater tubercle of the humerus to turn the groove into a canal for the tendon of the long head.
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