Reference > Anatomy of the Human Body > Page 323
Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
  The portion of the joint between the ulna and humerus is a simple hinge-joint, and allows of movements of flexion and extension only. Owing to the obliquity of the trochlea of the humerus, this movement does not take place in the antero-posterior plane of the body of the humerus. When the forearm is extended and supinated, the axes of the arm and forearm are not in the same line; the arm forms an obtuse angle with the forearm, the hand and forearm being directed lateral-ward. During flexion, however, the forearm and the hand tend to approach the middle line of the body, and thus enable the hand to be easily carried to the face. The accurate adaptation of the trochlea of the humerus, with its prominences and depressions, to the semilunar notch of the ulna, prevents any lateral movement. Flexion is produced by the action of the Biceps brachii and Brachialis, assisted by the Brachioradialis and the muscles arising from the medial condyle of the humerus; extension, by the Triceps brachii and Anconæus, assisted by the Extensors of the wrist, the Extensor digitorum communis, and the Extensor digiti quinti proprius.

FIG. 331– Capsule of elbow-joint (distended). Anterior aspect. (See enlarged image)

FIG. 332– Capsule of elbow-joint (distended). Posterior aspect. (See enlarged image)

  The joint between the head of the radius and the capitulum of the humerus is an arthrodial joint. The bony surfaces would of themselves constitute an enarthrosis and allow of movement in all directions, were it not for the annular ligament, by which the head of the radius is bound to the radial notch of the ulna, and which prevents any separation of the two bones laterally. It is to the same ligament that the head of the radius owes its security from dislocation, which would otherwise tend to occur, from the shallowness of the cup-like surface on the head of the radius. In fact, but for this ligament, the tendon of the Biceps brachii would be liable to pull the head of the radius out of the joint. The head of the radius is not in complete contact with the capitulum of the humerus in all positions of the joint. The capitulum occupies only the anterior and inferior surfaces of the lower end of the humerus, so that in complete extension a part of the radial head can be plainly felt projecting at the back of the articulation. In full flexion the movement of the radial head is hampered by the compression of the surrounding soft parts, so that the freest rotatory movement of the radius on the humerus (pronation and supination) takes place in semiflexion, in which position the two articular surfaces are in most intimate


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