25 Days of Skeletal Facts: Day 15 – The Radius

The radius is the second of your forearm bones, sitting on the lateral aspect in anatomical position but crosses over the ulna when you pronate your forearm (see yesterday’s post). The radius articulates with the humerus to help form the hinge joint of the elbow and articulates with two of your carpal bones, the scaphoid and the lunate, to form the wrist joint. The radius is so named because it circles the ulna, which stays fixed when you rotate your forearm.

Right radius and ulna

One of the more common fractures is that of the distal (wrist end) radius, also known as a Colles’ fracture. This fracture is commonly seen when individuals try to catch themselves and the mechanism of injury (MOI) is abbreviated as FOOSH (fall on outstretched hand). While the radius is more commonly affected (see the x-ray below), a fracture of the distal ulna also occurs in some cases. These types of fractures are also commonly seen in the archaeological record, and if coupled with thinning bone and fractures at other sites like the head of the femur, can be used to diagnosis individuals with osteoporosis in the past (Brickley & Ives 2008).

Colles fracture

And that’s the quick overview of the radius and its common fracture site. Tomorrow we will discuss the bones in the wrist and hand.


The Radius. TeachMe Anatomy Series. 2020

Colles Fracture. Physiopedia. 2020

The Bioarchaeology of Metabolic Bone Disease. Brickley & Ives. 2008

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