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Radius and ulna

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will learn how to:

  1. Name the major bony landmarks of the radius and ulna.
  2. List the main ligaments that connect the radius with the ulna.

Watch video

The radius and ulna are the two bones of the forearm. They articulate proximally with the humerus at the elbow, and distally with the carpal bones at the wrist. In the anatomical position, the radius is positioned on the lateral aspect of the forearm, while the ulna is found medially.

The radius and ulna articulate with each other at the proximal and distal radioulnar joints, while their bodies are connected by an interosseous membrane. These two joints allow the radius to move around the ulna, allowing for a palm facing up (supinated) or palm facing down (pronated) positioning of the forearm.

Watch the following video and browse the atlas below to learn about the main features of these two bones.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched our video on the radius and ulna check your knowledge by taking the following quiz.

Challenge yourself further, customize your own quiz on the elbow and forearm structures.

Download the following PDF and learn the anatomical landmarks of the radius and ulna.


Browse atlas


Key facts about the radius
Proximal end Head (articular facet of head of radius (for capitulum of humerus), articular circumference of head of radius (for radial notch of ulna))
Body Surfaces: Anterior, lateral, superior
: Anterior, interosseous, posterior
: Radial tuberosity, pronator tuberosity, suprastyloid crest
Distal end Radial styloid process, dorsal radial tubercle, ulnar notch, carpal articular surface
Key facts about the ulna
Proximal end Olecranon, coronoid process (tuberosity of ulna, radial notch), trochlear notch, sublime tubercle
Body Surfaces: Anterior, posterior, medial
: Anterior, interosseous, posterior
: Supinator crest
Distal end Head of ulna (articular circumference for ulnar notch of radius, ulnar styloid process)
Key facts about radius and ulna
Ligaments Interosseous membrane of forearm
Oblique cord
Anular ligament of radius
Radial collateral ligament of elbow joint
Ulnar collateral ligament of elbow joint
Quadrate ligament
Dorsal radioulnar ligament
Palmar radioulnar ligament

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