Anatomy Hand Nerves

Anatomy 101: Nerves of the Upper Extremity

Nerves-Peripheral-Musculo cropped

Nerves are essential to everything that you do. The nervous system carries messages to and from the brain. Nerves control your movements and actions, the sensations you feel on your skin (including pleasure or pain), and even your heart rate and blood pressure. In the upper extremity, the nerves are:

  • Ulnar nerve: This nerve provides sensation to the hand, especially the small and ring fingers, and contributes to the muscles that bend the wrist. It travels around the inside of the elbow and across the wrist.
  • Radial nerve: This nerve contributes to muscles that bend the wrist, fingers and elbow. It also provides sensation on the back of the hand and thumb.
  • Median nerve: This nerve provides sensation to the hand. It travels down the middle of the forearm and crosses the wrist through the carpal tunnel.
  • Musculocutaneous nerve: This nerve contributes to muscles that bend the elbow and provides sensation to the forearm.
  • Axillary  nerve: This nerve provides signals to muscles that help raise the arm. It travels deep around the shoulder.

Nerves are fragile and can be damaged by pressure, stretching, or cutting. Learn more about the signs of a nerve injury and how it can be treated. Brush up on your anatomy knowledge at

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  • November 10, 2019 at 10:31 AM

    I went to the doctor for the flu jab 7 weeks ago in my arm the jab went in my Axillary Nerve a lot of pain for 7 weeks.

  • joe cantrill
    July 2, 2019 at 12:51 PM

    my radial nerve was cut and repaired is there anythink i can do to help the repair and final out come as i canot move my wrist or fingers?

    October 22, 2018 at 11:48 PM

    Problem of movement in three fingers middle, ring and pinkie, weakness, touch feeling, etc.

  • February 9, 2016 at 6:23 AM

    I enjoy reading your article. Thank you for posting this.

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