Humerus: Definition and What it is

Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT

Humerus Definition and Meaning

The humerus is a long bone in the arm that extends from the shoulder to the elbow. It plays a crucial role in the mobility and support of the upper arm.

Anatomy of the Humerus

The humerus serves as an attachment point for major muscles, like the biceps, triceps, and deltoids. 

Function of the Humerus

The humerus is essential for facilitating movement at the shoulder and elbow joints. When performing actions that involve impact or bearing weight, the humerus helps absorb and distribute force throughout the arm, reducing stress on the joints. 

Various conditions can affect the humerus, including:

  • Osteoporosis: This condition weakens bones and makes them more prone to break, increasing the risk of fracturing the humerus. 

  • Rotator cuff injuries: Tears or strains in shoulder muscles and tendons can impact the range of motion of joints around the humerus and cause pain and weakness in the arm.

  • Shoulder arthritis: Osteoarthritis in the shoulder, characterized by inflammation or swelling in the joints around the humerus, can cause pain and stiffness.

  • Shoulder bursitis: When the bursae near the shoulder joint become inflamed, it can result in pain and restricted shoulder and arm movement.

Humerus Pain: A Hinge Health Perspective

The humerus is very resilient and designed to recover from the kinds of issues that naturally can happen in the course of everyday activities or during exercise.

If you’re reluctant to move because you think you’ll cause more damage or injury to your upper arm, shoulder, and elbow know this: Movement is often the fastest way to healing. As our Hinge Health care team says, movement is medicine. Movement helps rehab the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that connect to the humerus by increasing blood flow, and gradually improving their strength and flexibility.

Physical therapy can aid in the treatment and recovery of many humerus-related conditions. A physical therapist (PT) can show you specific stretching and strengthening exercises for your shoulders and arms that may help relieve pain, improve mobility, and restore function. You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you. 

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. 

Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


  1. Mostafa, E., & Varacallo, M. (2018, December 3). Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Humerus.; StatPearls Publishing. 

  2. Dervishi, L. (2019). Humerus. Physiopedia. 

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