Upper Limb Bones

Bones of the upper limb from an anterior view: Scapula, clavicle and humerus.

The upper limb is a part of the appendicular skeleton that consists of three regions, each built by specific upper limb bones, and three joints that connect those regions. The regions of the upper limb are the arm, forearm and hand, while the connecting regions are the shoulder, elbow and wrist.

From proximal to distal, these are the bones and regions of the upper limb:

The arm consists of a single bone, humerus. Proximally, the arm attaches to the trunk via the shoulder joint, where the humerus articulates with the scapula. Clavicle articulates with the scapula too, forming an incomplete bony ring called the pectoral (shoulder) girdle, which further enhances the connection between the upper limb and the trunk. Distally, the arm connects with the forearm via the elbow joint.

The forearm consists of the radius and ulna, both of which participate in the complex elbow joint. Distally, via the wrist, the forearm is continued by the hand.

The hand is the smallest, yet probably the most complex region, as it consists of 27 bones.

These bones are divided into the following groups:

3 sets of phalanges which compose the fingers: proximal, middle and distal. The exception is the thumb, which only has proximal and distal phalanges. Learn more about the anatomy of the upper limb with video tutorials, quizzes and more.