Biomechanics of the Elbow

주관절의 생역학

  • Moon, Jun-Gyu (Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Korea University College of Medicine)
  • 문준규 (고려대학교 의과대학 정형외과학교실)
  • Received : 2010.05.10
  • Accepted : 2010.06.15
  • Published : 2010.06.15


Purpose: Understanding elbow biomechanics is necessary to understand the pathophysiologic mechanism of elbow injury and to provide a scientific basis for clinical practice. This article provides a summary of key concepts that are relevant to understanding common elbow injuries and their management. Materials and Methods: The biomechanics of the elbow joint can be divided into kinematics, stability and force transmission through the elbow joint. Active and passive stabilizers include bony articular geometry; soft tissues provide joint stability, compression force and motion. Results and Conclusion: Knowledge of elbow biomechanics will help (i) advance surgical procedures and trauma management, (ii) develop new elbow prostheses and (iii) stimulate future research.


  1. Alcid JG, Ahmad CS, Lee TQ: Elbow anatomy and structural biomechanics. Clin Sports Med, 23:503-517, 2004.
  2. Amis AA, Dowson D, Wright V: Elbow joint force predictions for some strenuous isometric actions. J Biomech, 13: 765-775, 1980.
  3. An KN, Himeno S, Tsumura H, Kawai T, Chao EY: Pressure distribution on articular surfaces: Application to joint stability evaluation. J Biomech, 23: 1013-1020, 1990.
  4. An KN, Morrey BF, Chao EY: The effect of partial removal of proximal ulna on elbow constraint. Clin Orthop Relat Res, 209: 270-279, 1996.
  5. An KN, Zobitz ME, Morrey BF: Biomechancis of the elbow. In: Morrey BF, editor. The elbow and its disorder. 4th ed, Philadelphia, Saunder: 39-60, 2009.
  6. Bryce CD, Armstrong AD: Anatomy and biomechanics of the elbow. Orthop Clin North Am, 39: 141-154, 2008.
  7. Cage DJ, Abrams RA, Callahan JJ, Botte MJ: Soft tissue attachments of the ulnar coronoid process. An anatomic study with radiographic correlation. Clin Orthop Relat Res, 320: 154-158, 1995.
  8. Cohen MS, Hastings Jr H: Rotatory instability of the elbow. The anatomy and role of the lateral stabilizers. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 79: 225-233, 1997.
  9. Cohen MS, Bruno RJ: The collateral ligaments of the elbow: anatomy and clinical correlation. Clin Orthop Relat Res, 383: 123-130, 2001.
  10. Fischer G, Fick R: Handbuch der anatomie und mechanik du gelenke, unter berucksichtigung der bewegenden muskeln. Jena, 2: 299, 1911.
  11. Goodfellow JW, Bullough PG: The pattern of aging of the articular cartilage of the elbow joint. J Bone Joint Surg Br, 49: 175-181, 1967.
  12. Halls AA, Travill A: Transmission of pressures across the elbow joint. Anat Rec, 150: 243-247, 1964.
  13. Knudson DV: Fundamentals of Biomechanics, 2nd ed. New York, Springer, 2007.
  14. Lim YW, van Riet RP, Mittal R, Bain GI: Pattern of osteophyte distribution in primary osteoarthritis of the elbow. J Shoulder Elbow Surg, 17: 963-966, 2008.
  15. Lockard M: Clinical biomechanics of the elbow. J Hand Ther, 19: 72-80, 2006.
  16. Markolf KL, Lamey D, Yang S, Meals R, Hotchkiss R: Radioulnar load-sharing in the forearm. A study in cadaver. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 80: 879-888, 1998.
  17. Morrey BF, An KN, Stormont TJ: Force transmission through the radial head. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 70: 250-256,1998.
  18. Morrey BF, Tanaka S, An KN: Valgus stability of the elbow. A definition of primary and secondary constraints. Clin Orthop Relat Res, 265: 187-195, 1991.
  19. O’Driscoll SW, Jupiter JB, Cohen MS, Ring D, Mckee MD: Difficult elbow fractures: pearls and pitfall. Inst Course Lect, : 52: 113-134, 2003.
  20. O,Driscoll SW, Bell DF, Morrey BF: Posterolatera rotatory instability of the elbow. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 73: 440-446, 1991.
  21. O’Driscoll SW, Horii E, Morrey BF, Carmichael S: Anatomy of the ulnar part of the lateral collateral ligament of the elbow. Clin Anat, 5: 296, 1992.
  22. Olsen BS, Vaesel MT, Sojbjerg JO, Helmig P, Sneppen O: Lateral collateral ligament of the elbow joint: Anatomy and kinematics. J Shoulder Elbow Surg, 5: 103-112, 1996.
  23. Pollock JW, Brownhill J, Ferreira L, McDonald CP, Johnson J, King G: The effect of anteromedial facet fractures of the coronoid and lateral collateral ligament injury on elbow stability and kinematics. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 91: 1448-1458, 2009.
  24. Pomianowski S, Morrey BF, Neale PG, Park MJ, O’Driscoll SW, An KN: Contribution of monoblock and bipolar radial head prostheses to valgus stability of the elbow. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 83: 1829-1834, 2001.
  25. Roidis N, Stevanovic M, Martirosian A, Abbott DD, McPherson EJ, Itamura JM: A radiographic study of proximal radius anatomy with implications in radial head replacement. J Shoulder Elbow Surg, 12: 380-384, 2003.
  26. Safran MR, Baillargeon D: Soft tissue stabilizers of the elbow. J Shoulder Elbow Surg, 14: 179-185, 2005.
  27. Sojbjerg JO, Ovesen J, Nielsen S: Experimental elbow instability after transection of the medial collateral ligament. Clin Orthop Relat Res, 218: 186-190, 1987.
  28. VanGlabbeek F, VanRiet RP, Baumfeld JA, Neale PG, O’Driscoll SW, Morrey BF, An KN: Detrimental effects of overstuffing or understuffing with a radial head replacement in the medial collateral-ligament deficient elbow. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 86: 2629-2635, 2004.