Last revised by Craig Hacking on 16 Feb 2024

The stapes (plural: stapedes) is the smallest and most medial of the three middle ear ossicles. It is the smallest bone in the standard human skeleton.

Gross anatomy

It has a base (foot piece/footplate) that articulates with the oval window and conducts vibrations to the cochlea. The base is attached to the neck via anterior and posterior arches (also called the anterior and posterior crura). On top of the neck (or hub) is a concave head (also known as the capitulum) which articulates with the lenticular process of the incus. The combination of the capitulum, neck, and crura is collectively referred to as the stapes superstructure (less commonly, and less correctly, suprastructure).

The stapes has a number of attachments:

History and etymology

Stapes is the Latin word for stirrup.

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