Muscles in the Elbow

By Lisa Chekanowsky

Muscles in the Elbow

Elbow anatomy

The elbow is a joint (point of articulation that allows movement) comprised of three main bones: the humerus (upper arm), radius, and ulna.

image of woman smiling flexing her arm

Elbow muscles help us move our arms and lift items.

The elbow joint and articulation between the radius and ulna provide a variety of upper extremity motions including:

    • Flexion – Bending the elbow 
    • Extension – Straightening elbow 
    • Pronation – Turning forearm palm down
    • Supination – Turning forearm palm up

These upper extremity movements can occur via the attachment of muscles that cross the elbow joint. All muscles have sites of two mains points of attachment known as the origin and insertion.  The origin is typically proximal (closest) to the trunk of the body and has limited motion, whereas the insertion tends to be distal (farther away from the body) and has more movement 

Primary Muscles of the Elbow

image of anatomy of muscles in the arm and elbow

Muscles of the elbow include triceps, biceps, and several other important muscles.

Biceps Brachii 

The biceps brachii crosses both the elbow and shoulder joint – however, this muscle’s primary function is elbow flexion.  This muscle secondary activation is to assist in shoulder flexion

Triceps Brachii 

The triceps brachii, just like the biceps brachii crosses both the elbow and shoulder joint as well but is located along the posterior aspect of the arm. This muscle’s primary function is elbow extension but also helps assist the extension of the shoulder


The brachioradialis muscle is located from the elbow and inserts into the forearm area. This muscle helps assist with the biceps brachii to flex the elbow


The brachialis muscle is located at the distal half of the humerus and inserts into the forearm. This muscle performs elbow flexion and is considered the prime flexor of the forearm at the elbow joint


The anconeus is a smaller muscle, triangular in shape. This muscle is located along the outside of the elbow, lateral epicondyle, and inserts into the posterior aspect of the elbow (ulna bone). Muscle serves to help the elbow extend 


The supinator is a spiral muscle located along the posterior aspect of the forearm. This muscle performs supination of the forearm/elbow. Supination of the elbow is when the palm is facing upwards. An example of when using supination would be turning a screwdriver or turning a key

What does JOI have to offer?

JOI has a dedicated team of physicians that are dedicated to your orthopedic treatment. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above and would like to see a physician regarding this, JOI offers six different MD locations and they are located throughout the northeast Florida area. 

JOI and JOI Rehab

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician.

Image of Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician Button.

Written by: Lisa Chekanowsky

Skip to content