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How is the elbow designed, and what is its
The elbow is
the joint where three long bones meet in the middle portion of the arm. The bone
of the upper arm (humerus) meets the inner bone of the forearm (ulna) and the
outer bone of the forearm (radius) to form a hinge joint. The radius and ulna
also meet in the elbow to allow for rotation of the forearm. The elbow functions
to move the arm like a hinge (forward and backward) and in rotation (twisting
outward and inward). The biceps muscle is the major muscle that flexes the elbow
hinge. The triceps muscle is the major muscle that extends the elbow hinge. The
outer bone of the elbow is referred to as the lateral epicondyle and is a part
of the humerus bone. Tendons are attached to this area which can be injured,
causing inflammation or tendinitis (lateral epicondylitis, or "tennis elbow").
The inner portion of the elbow is a bony prominence called the medial
epicondyle. Additional tendons from the muscles attach here and can be injured,
causing medial epicondylitis, "golfer's elbow." A fluid-filled sac (bursa),
which serves to reduce friction, overlies the tip of the elbow (olecranon
bursa). The elbow can be affected by inflammation
of the tendons or the bursae (plural for bursa) or
conditions that affect the bones and joints, such as fractures,
arthritis, or nerve irritation. Joint pain in the elbow can result from injury or disease involving any of these structures.