Oct 21st 2013

Going Out on a Limb: The Anatomy of the Upper Limb (Coursera)

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This course explores musculoskeletal anatomy of the Upper Limb, and common injuries that affect its function. We discuss parts of the upper limb, the anatomy of bones, joints and muscles, nerve injuries and common pathologies.

In the first six weeks of the course, we begin with an introduction to the parts of the upper limb and a discussion of the anatomic position, including the three-dimensional planes in which body movements are performed. Next, we cover the osteology of the upper limb by describing the bones of the extremity, how they articulate at synovial joints, and the movements that are possible at these joints. We explore the blood supply and innervation to the upper limb. We then discuss the major muscles that act at each joint, pointing out what muscles allow us to shrug our shoulders, row a boat, make a fist, and rotate our hand forwards or backwards.

In the final three weeks of the course, we investigate nerve injuries that occur in the upper limb and their clinical effects. We also explore common pathologies that appear in the extremity, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, and Dupuytren's contracture. We finish with a description of the embryologic development of the upper limb and common causes of limb malformations and deformations.

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