Where Is Your Funny Bone?
Your funny bone is in your arm. It is the long, almost straight nerve which extends from your shoulder to your elbow. At the top end it is attached to your scapula, or shoulder blade. At the elbow it is attached to the two bones in your lower arm which are called the radius and the ulna, which in turn are attached to your wrist and hand.
The funny bone carries the very strong biceps muscles—the ones which bulge up on the top of your arm when you bend your elbow and bring your hand up to your shoulder. The bone is grooved to carry the nerves to your hand. These nerves convey messages to and from your brain so that you can control your hand and use it to feel things.
But your funny bone isn’t actually a bone at all. Running down the inside part of your elbow is a nerve called the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve lets your brain know about feelings in your fourth and fifth fingers. It’s also one of the nerves that control some movement of your hand.
You get that funny feeling when the ulnar nerve is bumped against the humerus, the long bone that starts at your elbow and goes up to your shoulder. Tapping your funny bone doesn’t do any damage to your elbow, arm, or ulnar nerve. But it sure feels strange!
Some people think your funny bone is so called because, when you knock a particular part of your elbow, you get a funny, tingling sensation. The real reason is because the medical name for this bone is the humerus—and since it is pronounced “humorous”, the description of “funny bone” has now passed into universal use.