What are Ossicles?

By Justin Delicato, Site Coordinator, PTA

What are Ossicles?

The ossicles are three tiny bones located within the middle ear; these three bones form a chain connecting the eardrum and the inner ear. The three bones are named based on their shape, malleus (hammer), incus (anvil), and stapes (stirrup). During development, the ossicles are the first bones to fully ossify and mature at birth (these three bones do not grow afterward). The ossicles’ function is to transmit vibrations caused by sound waves from the eardrum to the inner ear. If ossicles are broken or not functioning, this can result in a reduction of hearing.

Ossicles are the small bones making up the structure of the ear, and can be treated at JOI.

Image of the anatomy of the ear ossicles.


Also known as “hammer” consists of two main parts. The manubrium, “handle,” adheres to the tympanic membrane and the “head,” articulating with the incus. The malleus is the largest and outermost of the three bones. This bone functions to transmit sound from the eardrum to the incus and then to the staples. The malleus connects to the eardrum, it often doesn’t impact hearing loss.


Located at the center of the ossicles, this bone connects the malleus to the staples. The incus is also known as the anvil because of its shape. The incus transmits to the staples.


The smallest bone in the human body is the stirrup because of its horseshoe-like shape. The stapes has two branches or parts, the inferior and superior crus. The function of the stapes is to convey sound vibrations to the bone’s flat base. When there is damage of the stapes, a person may lose partial hearing.

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, JOI offers 5 different MD locations, and they are located throughout the northeast Florida area.

JOI also offers physical therapy in numerous areas in northeast Florida if your referring MD feels physical therapy would assist you in relieving these symptoms

Our website medical library has several articles on all of the injuries listed below.  Please go to JOI Library or JOI Trending.  To schedule an appointment for physical therapy at one of the 12 JOI Rehab Centers, please call 904-858-7045.

  • JOI Physical Therapy Locations:
    • Arlington.
    • Westside.
    • San Marco.
    • Fleming.
    • South.
    • Mandarin.
    • North.
    • Nocatee.
    • Nassau.
    • Point Meadows.
    • Beaches.
    • World Golf Village.

Call 904-JOI-2000 if you have any questions!

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician.

By: Justin Delicato, Site Coordinator, PTA

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