digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Humerus - anterior view.png
Position of humerus (shown in red). Anterior view.
Latin Humerus
Gray's p.209
MeSH A02.835.
TA A02.4.04.001
FMA 13303
Anatomical terms of bone

The humerus (/ˈhjmərəs/, Plural: humeri) is a long bone in the arm or forelimb that runs from the shoulder to the elbow. It connects the scapula and the two bones of the lower arm, which consists of the radius and ulna, and consists of three sections. The upper extremity consists of a rounded head, a narrow neck, and two short processes (tubercles, sometimes called tuberosities). Its body is cylindrical in its upper portion, and more prismatic below. The lower extremity consists of 2 epicondyles, 2 processes (trochlea & capitulum), and 3 fossae (radial fossa, coronoid fossa, and olecranon fossa). As well as its true anatomical neck, the constriction below the greater and lesser tubercles of the humerus is referred to as its surgical neck due to its tendency to commonly get fractured, thus often becoming the focus of surgeons.


The word "humerus" is derived from Latin: humerus, umerus meaning upper arm, shoulder, and is linguistically related to Gothic ams shoulder and Greek ōmos.[1]



At the shoulder, the head of the humerus articulates with the glenoid fossa of the scapula. More distally, at the elbow, the capitulum of the humerus articulates with the head of the radius, and the trochlea of the humerus articulates with the trochlear notch of the ulna.

Diagram of the human shoulder joint 
The left shoulder and acromioclavicular joints, and the proper ligaments of the scapula. 
Head of humerus 
The supinator


The axillary nerve is located at the proximal end, against the shoulder girdle. Dislocation of the humerus's glenohumeral joint, has the potential to injure the axillary nerve or the axillary artery. Signs and symptoms of this dislocation include a loss of the normal shoulder contour and a palpable depression under the acromion.

The radial nerve follows the humerus closely. At the midshaft of the humerus, the radial nerve travels from the posterior to the anterior aspect of the bone in the spiral groove. A fracture of the humerus in this region can result in radial nerve injury.

The ulnar nerve at the distal end of the humerus near the elbow is sometimes referred to in popular culture as 'the funny bone'. Striking this nerve can cause a tingling sensation ("funny" feeling), and sometimes a significant amount of pain. It lies posterior to the medial epicondyle, and is easily damaged in elbow injuries.[2]

Horizontal section at the middle of upper arm
Horizontal section of upper arm. 


Muscular attachment[edit]

The deltoid originates on the lateral third of the clavicle, acromion and the crest of the spine of the scapula. It is inserted on the deltoid tuberosity of the humerus and has several actions including abduction, extension, and circumduction of the shoulder. The supraspinatus also originates on the spine of the scapula. It inserts on the greater tubercle of the humerus, and assists in abduction of the shoulder.

The pectoralis major, teres major, and latissimus dorsi insert at the intertubercular groove of the humerus. They work to adduct and medially, or internally, rotate the humerus.

The infraspinatus and teres minor insert on the greater tubercle, and work to laterally, or externally, rotate the humerus. In contrast, the subscapularis muscle inserts onto the lesser tubercle and works to medially, or internally, rotate the humerus.

The biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis (which attaches distally) act to flex the elbow. (The biceps do not attach to the humerus.) The triceps brachii and anconeus extend the elbow, and attach to the posterior side of the humerus.

The four muscles of supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis form a musculo-ligamentous girdle called the rotator cuff. This cuff stabilizes the very mobile but inherently unstable glenohumeral joint. The other muscles are used as counterbalances for the actions of lifting/pulling and pressing/pushing.

Left humerus. Anterior view.
Humerus ant (mirroed).png Left humerus - anterior view.png Left humerus - close-up - animation - stop at anterior view.gif HumerusFront.png Human left humerus - anterior view - muscles.svg A. Supraspinatus muscle
B. Latissimus dorsi muscle
C. Pectoralis major muscle
D. Deltoid muscle
E. Brachioradialis
F. Extensor carpi radialis longus muscle
G. Common extensor tendon
H. Subscapularis muscle
I. Teres major muscle
J. Coracobrachialis muscle
K. Brachialis muscle
L. Pronator teres muscle
M. Common flexor tendon

Left humerus. Posterior view.
Humerus post (mirroed).png Left humerus - posterior view.png Left humerus - close-up - animation - stop at posterior view.gif HumerusBack.png Gray208.png

Other animals[edit]

Primitive fossil amphibians had little, if any, shaft connecting the upper and lower extremities, making their limbs very short. In most living tetrapods, however, the humerus has a similar form to that of humans. In many reptiles and some primitive mammals, the lower extremity includes a large foramen, or opening, into which nerves and blood vessels pass.[3]

Additional images[edit]

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.

  1. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Humerus". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Humerus". TeachMeAnatomy.net. 
  3. ^ Romer, Alfred Sherwood; Parsons, Thomas S. (1977). The Vertebrate Body. Philadelphia, PA: Holt-Saunders International. pp. 198–199. ISBN 0-03-910284-X. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humerus — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

3715 news items

Physicians News Digest

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 03:23:17 -0700

About 5% to 6% of all adult fractures involve breaking the proximal humerus. About half of these are displaced fractures, with about 77% including the surgical neck, the authors note. Most of these fractures occur in people older than 65 years, likely ...

India Gazette

India Gazette
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 02:56:15 -0700

The first patient treated at Albert Schweitzer Hospital with IlluminOss' bone stabilization system was an elderly female with a fracture of her Proximal Humerus resulting from a fall. "She was able to return home one day post-surgery with only a small ...
SYS-CON Media (press release)
Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:00:00 -0800

Windhager and Vienna General Hospital have chosen to collaborate with IlluminOss Medical on this important trial for the repair and stabilization of impending and pathologic fractures in the humerus due to metastatic carcinoma," said Robert Rabiner, ...
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:41:15 -0700

Weimer also is out for the season after suffering a broken right humerus, a concussion, a collapsed left lung, bruised vocal chords, a large gash on his chin and a broken Adam's apple. While Tomac knows the probability of catching Dungey is out the ...


Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:37:04 -0700

Cameron's theme as Wally West would be simple; he'll be the humerus part of the team the one who reminds them of their youth, As well as the one who finds it hard to differentiate the time when humerus is needed and not needed. Nonetheless, he'd be the ...
Becker's Orthopedic & Spine
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:22:22 -0700

IlluminOss Medical announced the first patient has been enrolled in its EU Light Fix Proximal Humerus Fracture Repair Trial for the treatment of osteoporotic and fragility fractures. Implanet published a retrospective cost-effectiveness study showing ...

Nova News Now

Nova News Now
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:07:30 -0700

Now he's working on the ulnas, humerus, radius and the scapula. Tudor collects whalebones for display at the Brier Island Lodge. He runs the lodge and a summer whale watching operation with his wife Amy. Tourists, and locals, like to look at the whale ...

MedPage Today

MedPage Today
Tue, 10 Mar 2015 08:33:26 -0700

Patients with proximal humerus fractures who were treated with a sling reported shoulder outcome scores nearly equal to those who underwent surgery based on a 2-year average of the follow-up data (38.32 versus 39.07, range 0-48), according to Amar ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight