What is the function of the humerus?


Quick Answer

The function of the humerus is to anchor the major muscles that move the shoulder and elbow. There are a number of muscles that attach to the humerus bone, including the pectoralis major and deltoid, which makes it an essential bone for arm and shoulder movement.

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Full Answer

The humerus is located between the shoulder and elbow joints. It is connected to the shoulder at the scapula and the ulna bone at the elbow. A healthy humerus is essential for lifting and other forms of physical activity.

At the shoulder, the humerus becomes part of a ball and socket joint. These are the most mobile types of joints in the body, as they allow movement in all directions. For this reason, the humerus has a rounded head so it can move freely within the ball and socket joint.

The humerus widens around one-third of the way down the upper arm. This widening is called the deltoid tuberosity and provides a strong attachment for the deltoid muscle. This is a powerful muscle and requires a thickened bone to provide extra stability.

Several nerves and arteries also run along the humerus. The brachial artery, for example, travels along almost the entire length of the humerus before splitting just before the elbow.

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