Bone: Ulna
Upper extremity
Ulna is #2
Gray's subject #52 214
MeSH A02.835.
Dorlands/Elsevier u_01/12835497

The ulna (elbow bone) is a long bone, prismatic in form, placed at the medial side of the forearm, parallel with the radius.


The ulna articulates with:

Proximal and distal aspects

The ulna is broader proximally, and narrower distally.

Proximally, the ulna has a bony process, the olecranon process, a hook-like structure that fits into the olecranon fossa of the humerus. This prevents hyperextension and forms a hinge joint with the trochlea of the humerus. There is also a radial notch for the head of the radius, and the ulnar tuberosity to which muscles can attach.

Distally (near the hand), there is a styloid process.

Overview of body and two extremities

It is divisible into a body and two extremities.

  • Upper extremity of ulna: of great thickness and strength, forms a large part of the elbow-joint; the bone diminishes in size from above downward,
  • Lower extremity of ulna: very small, and excluded from the wrist-joint by the interposition of an articular disk.


The long, narrow medullary cavity is enclosed in a strong wall of compact tissue which is thickest along the interosseous border and dorsal surface.

At the extremities the compact layer thins.

The compact layer is continued onto the back of the olecranon as a plate of close spongy bone with lamellæ parallel.

From the inner surface of this plate and the compact layer below it trabeculæ arch forward toward the olecranon and coronoid and cross other trabeculæ, passing backward over the medullary cavity from the upper part of the shaft below the coronoid.

Below the coronoid process there is a small area of compact bone from which trabeculæ curve upward to end obliquely to the surface of the semilunar notch which is coated with a thin layer of compact bone.

The trabeculæ at the lower end have a more longitudinal direction.

See also

External links

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