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Regions of the upper limb

Learning objectives

In this study unit you will learn how to:

  1. List the main regions of the upper limb.
  2. Name the important terms used to describe various parts of the upper limb.

Watch video

Every medical professional needs to know the descriptive terms used for the regions of the whole body in order to localize and diagnose different injuries and diseases, as well as communicate them to other physicians. The same goes for the upper limb, which is divided into several regions on its anterior and posterior aspects. Many of these regions contain various neurovascular structures, which makes them important surgical landmarks. Get a visual of the upper limb regions, their borders and contents by watching the video below.

Take a quiz

Now that you’re more familiar with the regions of the upper limb, test yourself with the following quiz to solidify your knowledge. If you already feel like a pro, try out our custom quiz to get a broader quiz on the general terminology of the body. 

Browse atlas

Many of the main regions of the upper limb are also known by other names. Some of these represent their synonyms and some are their subregions or other related terms that may be used interchangeably. It’s important you know these, as you will find them in anatomy textbooks, articles, videos and quizzes.

Important terms about the regions of the upper limb
Shoulder region
Deltoid region (subregion, but in some sources used as synonym)
Axillary region
(Regio axillaris)
Axilla, axillary fossa
Arm region
(Regio brachii)
Brachial region
Anterior arm region
: anterior brachial region
Posterior arm region
: posterior brachial region
Elbow region
(Regio cubiti)
Cubital region
Anterior elbow region
: anterior cubital region, cubital fossa
Posterior elbow region
: posterior cubital region, olecranon region
Forearm region
(Regio antebrachii)
Antebrachial region
Anterior forearm
: anterior antebrachial region
Posterior forearm
: posterior antebrachial region
Medial border
: Ulnar border
Lateral border
: Radial border
Wrist region
(Regio carpalis)
Carpal region
Anterior region
: anterior carpal region
Posterior region
 posterior carpal region
Hand region
(Regio manus)
Radial foveola: anatomical snuffbox
Thumb (pollex)
: 1st digit
Index finger
: 2nd digit
Middle finger
: 3rd digit
Ring finger
: 4th digit
Little finger
: 5th digit

To get a visual of the individual major regions of the upper limb, take a look at our gallery of highlighted images. Be sure to assess the location and boundaries of the upper limb regions and how they compare to each other.


Key points
Main regions of the upper limb Shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, hand
Main subregions of upper limb region Shoulder region: deltoid region, axillary region
Arm region
: anterior arm region, posterior arm region
Elbow region
: anterior cubital region, cubital fossa, posterior cubital region
Forearm region
: anterior forearm region, posterior forearm region
Wrist region
: anterior carpal region, posterior carpal region
Hand region
: palm of hand, dorsum of hand, metacarpal region, regions of digits, interdigital spaces of hand, radial foveola

Well done!

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