In human anatomy, the arm is the upper limb of the body, comprising regions between the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) and the elbow joint. In common usage the arm extends to the hand. It can be divided into the upper arm (brachium), the forearm (ante brachium), and the hand (manus). Anatomically the shoulder girdle with bones and corresponding muscles is by definition a part of the arm. The Latin term brachium may refer to both the arm as a whole or to the upper arm on its own.
The radial nerve, which is from the fifth cervical spinal nerve to the first thoracic spinal nerve, originates as the continuation of the posterior cord of the brachial plexus. This nerve enters the lower triangular space (an imaginary space bounded by, amongst others, the shaft of the humerus and the triceps brachii) of the arm and lies deep to the triceps brachii. Here it travels with the deep artery of the arm, which sits in the radial groove of the humerus. This fact is very important clinically as a fracture of the bone at the shaft of the bone here can cause lesions or even transections in the nerve.
Other nerves passing through give no supply to the arm. These include:
The median nerve, nerve origin C5-T1, which is a branch of the lateral and medial cords of the brachial plexus. This nerve continues in the arm, travelling in a plane between the biceps and triceps muscles. At the cubital fossa, this nerve is deep to the pronator teres muscle and is the most medial structure in the fossa. The nerve passes into the forearm.
The veins of the arm carry blood from the extremities of the limb, as well as drain the arm itself. The two main veins are the basilic and the cephalic veins. There is a connecting vein between the two, the median cubital vein, which passes through the cubital fossa and is clinically important for venepuncture (withdrawing blood).
The basilic vein travels on the medial side of the arm and terminates at the level of the seventh rib.
The cephalic vein travels on the lateral side of the arm and terminates as the axillary vein. It passes through the deltopectoral triangle, a space between the deltoid and the pectoralis major muscles.
In other animals, the term arm can also be used for analogous structures, (such as one of the paired forelimbs of a four-legged animal or the arms of cephalopods). In anatomical usage, the term arm may sometimes refer specifically to the segment between the shoulder and the elbow, while the segment between the elbow and wrist is the forearm. However, in common, literary, and historical usage, arm refers to the entire upper limb from shoulder to wrist. This article uses the former definition; see upper limb for the wider definition.
In primates the arm is adapted for precise positioning of the hand and thus assist in the hand's manipulative tasks. The ball and socket shoulder joint allows for movement of the arms in a wide circular plane, while the structure of the two forearm bones which can rotate around each other allows for additional range of motion at that level.