The elbow is a complex joint, in which 3 bones are comprised; the upper arm bone (humerus), elbow bone (ulna) and the radial bone (radius). The elbow movements consist of bending and stretching (flexion and extension) and rotations of the radius (supination and pronation).
In narrower terms, only flexion and extension can be performed in the elbow, while rotation is performed in the joint between the radius and the ulna. Besides the shoulder and hand joint, the elbow joint enables an optimal use of the upper extremity.
The elbow joint has a strong joint capsule and for stability the medial (ulnar) and lateral (radial collateral) ligaments are important. The annular ligament is of particular importance as it holds the radius head next to the upper part of the ulna.
Numerous muscles and their tendons start and end near the elbow. Their illnesses and injuries are often the cause when the patient seeks medical help.
Three important nerves go through the elbow (radial, medial and ulnar nerve). They are prone to injuries and nerve entrapment, which can lead to pain, weakness and numbness of the elbow, the underarm and wrist.