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Humerus - anterior view.png
Position of humerus (shown in red)
from an anterior viewpoint
Latin humerus
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, 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 in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  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.
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31981 videos foundNext > 

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A description of the humerus with all of its major landmarks such as major and minor tubercles and their respective crests, deltoid tuberosity, trochlea, capitulum ...

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http://www.anatomyzone.com 3D anatomy tutorial on the features of the humerus using the BioDigital Human Browser (http://www.biodigitalhuman.com).


Gross anatomy of the humerus including greater and lesser tubercles, deltoid tuberosity, trochlea, capitulum, medial and lateral epicondyles, olecranon fossa ...

Humerus and Scapula - Human Anatomy | Kenhub

Find more videos at: https://www.kenhub.com Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/VOEG2I This is an Anatomy video tutorial covering the Humerus ...

Humerus Bone - Anatomy, Definition & Function - Human Anatomy | Kenhub

Find more videos at: https://www.kenhub.com Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/VOEG2I On this tutorial, I will do a brief introduction to the Humerus.

Proximal Humerus

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Anatomy of the "Humerus" presented by professor \ Ahmed Gunied. Points, covered by this video include: Parts of the bone (Heads of the upper & lower ends ...

Humerus Bone → Origins and Insertion attachments on the Humerus|| By: Kinesiology Kris

The Humerus Bone Origins and Insertions, This video goes over the different muscles that Originate and Insert onto the Humerus bone. Watch the Humerus ...

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The lawsuit alleges that the puddle originated from dispenser equipment or a container that leaked due to the negligence of Pepsi-Cola Bottling of Roseburg, doing business as Bigfoot Beverages. As a result of the fall, Goodlin suffered a left humerus ...


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In addition to depression, women suffer more from Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, cluster headaches, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Hip, forearm, spinal and humerus bone fractures occur more in women. “These are generally not ...

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The humerus (top) and ulna (bottom) of Galecyon. From Zack and Rose, 2015. Given that mammals have such distinctive dentitions, and teeth fossilize more readily than bone, untangling hyaenodont relationships and lifestyle has primarily involved looking ...
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The joint of the shoulder consists of the bone of the upper arm, called the humerus; the shoulder blade, called the scapula; and the end portion of the collarbone, called the clavicle. The shoulder joint is highly mobile and in fact it is considered to ...
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