Encyclopedia > Arm

  Article Content


Anatomy of the (human) arm

Upper arm[?] -- Elbow[?] -- Forearm -- Wrist -- Hand -- Finger -- Thumb

Running downward and outward from the inner half of the clavicle, where that bone is convex forward, is the clavicular part of the pectoralis major, while from the outer third of the bone, where it is concave forward, is the clavicular part of the deltoid; between these two muscles is an elongated triangular gap with its base at the clavicle, and here the skin is somewhat depressed, while the cephalic vein sinks between the two muscles to join the axillary vein. The tip of the coracoid process is situated just under cover of the inner edge of the deltoid, one inch below the junction between the outer and middle thirds of the clavicle. The deltoid muscle forms the prominence of the shoulder, and its convex outline is due to the presence of the head of the humerus deep to it; when this is dislocated the shoulder becomes flattened. The pectoralis major forms the anterior fold of the axilla or armpit, the posterior being formed by the latissimus dorsi and teres major muscles. The skin of the floor of this space is covered with hair in the adult, and contains many large sweat glands. The axillary vessels and brachial plexus of nerves lie in the outer wall, while on the inner wall are the serrations of the serratus magnus muscle, the outlines of some of which are seen on the side of the thorax, through the skin, when the arm is raised. Below the edge of the pectoralis major, the swelling of the biceps begins to be visible, and this can easily be traced into its tendon of insertion, which reaches below the level of the elbow joint. On each side of the biceps is the external and internal bicipital furrow, in the latter of which the brachial artery may be felt and compressed. The median nerve is here in close relation to the artery. At the bend of the elbow the two condyles of the humerus may be felt; the inner one projects beneath the skin, but the outer one is obscured by the rounded outline of the brachio-radialis muscle. The superficial veins at the bend of the elbow are very conspicuous; they vary a good deal, but the typical arrangement is an M, of which the radial and ulnar veins form the uprights, while the outer oblique bar is the median cephalic and the inner oblique the median basilic vein. At the divergence of these two the median vein comes up from the front of the forearm, while the two vertical limbs are continued up the arm as the cephalic and basilic, the former on the outer side, the latter on the inner. On the back of the arm the three heads of the triceps are distinguishable, the external forming a marked oblique swelling when the forearm is forcibly extended and internally rotated. In the upper part of the front of the forearm the antecubital fossa or triangle is seen; its outer boundary is the brachio-radialis, its inner the pronator radii teres, and where these two join below is the apex. In this space are three vertical structures--externally the tendon of the biceps, just internal to this the brachial artery, and still more internally the median nerve. Coming from the inner side of the biceps tendon the semi-lunar fascia may be felt; it passes deep to the median basilic vein and superficial to the brachial artery, and in former days was a valuable protection to the artery when unskillful operators were bleeding from the median basilic vein. About the middle of the forearm the fleshy parts of the superficial flexor muscles cease, and only the tendons remain, so that the limb narrows rapidly. In front of the wrist there is a superficial plexus of veins, while deep to this two tendons can usually be made to start up if the wrist be forcibly flexed; the outer of these is the flexor carpi radialis, which is the physician's guide to the radial artery where the pulse is felt. If the finger is slipped to the outer side of this tendon, the artery, which here is very superficial, can be felt beating. The inner of the two tendons is the palmaris longus, though it is not always present. On cutting down between these two the median nerve is reached.

The wrist joint may be marked out by feeling the styloid process of the radius on the outer side, and the styloid process of the ulna on the inner side behind, and joining these two by a line convex upward. The superficial appearance of the palm of the hand is described in the article on Palmistry; with regard to anatomical landmarks the superficial palmar arterial arch is situated in the line of the abducted thumb, while the deep arch is an inch nearer the wrist. The digital nerves correspond to lines drawn from the clefts of the fingers toward the wrist. On the back of the forearm the olecranon process of the ulna is quite subcutaneous, and during extension of the elbow is in a line with the two condyles, while between it and the inner condyle lies the ulnar nerve, here known popularly as the "funny bone." From the olecranon process the finger may be run down the posterior border of the ulna, which is subcutaneous as far as the styloid process at the lower end. On the dorsum of the hand is a plexus of veins, deep to which the extensor tendons are seen on extending the fingers. When the thumb is extended, two tendons stand out very prominently, and enclose a triangular space between them which is sometimes known as the "anatomical snuff box"; the outer of these is the tendon of the extensor brevis, the inner of the extensor longus pollicis. Situated deeply in the space is the radial artery, covered by the radial vein. On the dorsum of the hand there is a plexus of veins, and deep to these the tendons of the extensor longus digitorum stand out when the wrist and fingers are extended.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article

... for contraception: their theoretical effectiveness is relatively high, but their actual effectiveness is relatively low. This is because many people fail to rigorously ...