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RADIOULNAR JOINTS

Learning outcome:
• Name the radioulnar joints.
• Specify the type of each joint.
• Describe the type, articular surfaces, fibrous capsule, synovial membrane,
ligaments & neurovascular supply of superior radioulnar joint.
• Explain the factors responsible for its stability & their clinical significance
• Describe the type, articular surfaces, fibrous capsule, synovial membrane,
ligaments & neurovascular supply of inferior radioulnar joint.

RADIOULNAR JOINT
• The two bones of forearm i.e. radius & ulna are articulated to each other at
two sites making the proximal or superior & distal or inferior radioulnar joints.
• The two bones are also connected by the Interosseous membrane.
• The description of these two joints is as under:

1. PROXIMAL (SUPERIOR) RADIOULNAR JOINT:


ARTICULAR SURFACES:
• The joint is formed by articulation between the circumference of the head of
the radius and the anular ligament and the radial notch on the ulna.
TYPE
• Synovial pivot joint
CAPSULE
• The capsule encloses the joint and is continuous with that of the elbow
joint
LIGAMENTS
• The anular ligament is attached to the anterior and posterior margins of
the radial notch on ulna and forms a collar around the head of the radius. It is
continuous above with the capsule of the elbow joint. It is not attached to the
radius.
• The small quadrate ligament extends between the neck of the radius
and ulna, just below the radial notch.
SYNOVIAL MEMBRANE
• This is continuous above with that of the elbow joint. Below, it is
attached to the inferior margin of the articular surface of the radius and the
lower margin of the radial notch of ulna.
NERVE SUPPLY
• Branches of median, ulnar, musculocutaneous and radial nerves
BLOOD SUPPLY :
• The articular arteries supplying the proximal radioulnar joint are
derived from the anastomoses around the elbow region, whereas those
supplying the distal radioulnar joint are derived from the anterior and
posterior interosseous. arteries.
MOVEMENTS
• Pronation and supination of the forearm.
IMPORTANT RELATIONS
• ANTERIORLY
Supinator muscle and the radial nerve.
• POSTERIORLY
Supinator muscle and the common extensor tendon.
2. DISTAL (INFERIOR) RADIOULNAR JOINT:
ARTICULATION
 The joint is formed by articulation between the rounded head
of the ulna and the ulnar notch on the radius.
TYPE
 Synovial pivot joint.
CAPSULE
 The capsule encloses the joint but is deficient superiorly
LIGAMENTS
 Weak anterior and posterior ligaments strength the capsule.
ARTICULAR DISC
 This is triangular and composed of fibrocartilage.It is attatched
by its apex to the lateral side of the base of the styloid process
of the ulna and by its base to the lower border of the ulnar
notch of the radius. It shuts off the distal radioulnar joint from
the wrist and strongly unites the radius to the ulna.
SYNOVIAL MEMBRANE
 This lines the capsule passing from the edge of one articular
surface to that of the other.
NERVE SUPPLY
 Anterior interosseous nerve and the deep branch of the radial
nerve.
BLOOD SUPPLY
• Branches from radial and ulnar arteries.
MOVEMENTS
• The movements of pronation and supination of the forearm involve a rotary
movement around a vertical axis at the proximal and distal radioulnar joints.
• The axis passes through the head of the radius above and the attachment of the
apex of the triangular disc below.
• In the movement of pronation, the head of the radius rotates within the anular
ligament, whereas the distal end of the radius with the hand moves bodily
forward, the ulnar notch of the radius moving around the circumference of the
head of the ulna.
• In addition, the distal end of the ulna moves laterally so that the hand remains
in line with the upper limb and is not displaced medially. This movement of
the ulna is important when using an instrument such as a screwdriver because
it prevents side to side movement of the hand during the repetitive movements
of supination and pronation.
• Pronation is performed by the pronator teres and the pronator quadratus.
• Supination is performed by biceps brachii and the supinator. Supination is the
more powerful of the two movements because of the strength of the biceps
muscle.
IMPORTANT RELATIONS
• Anteriorly: The tendons of flexor digitorum profundus.
• Posteriorly: The tendon of extensor digiti minimi.