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The femur (Latin femur) is the longest and strongest bone in the human skeleton. It has a solid shaft and two very distinctive ends. It performs important functions for the whole organism related to both maintaining an upright posture and locomotion. Elderly people, especially women over 60, often develop serious fractures of the femur, usually in the intertrochanteric area or the neck of the femur.

The femur consists of two ends (distal and proximal) and a shaft. The ends of the bones are made of spongy matter surrounded by a layer of compacted matter. The shaft, on the other hand, is a thick layer of compacted matter that surrounds the medullary cavity. The walls of this cavity are thickest above the middle of the bone height and along the rough line. In the vertical position of the body, the femur is slightly oblique. The degree of deviation from the vertical is individually variable and greater in women than in men. This is because women have a wider pelvis than men.

Femur - structure

The body of the femur(Latin corpus femoris) is slightly convex to the front and has three surfaces: anterior and two lateral. The shape of the shaft, and therefore the entire femur, may change due to rickets. The decalcified and softened bone that regularly carries the load on the upper body then bulges forward.

The lateral surfaces of the shaft come together at the back, creating arough edge(Latin linea aspera), which stiffens and stabilizes the entire bone. In the lower, flattened part of the shaft, between the lips of the rough line, there is a triangularpopliteal area(Latin facies poplitea), which is the bottom of the popliteal fossa. The popliteal artery runs here, as well as the common peroneal and tibial nerves.

The lips of the rough fringe also diverge upwards. Lateral - to the greater trochanter, and the medial - to the lesser trochanter. The rough crescent is also important due to the fact thatmany muscles attach to it : great adductor, comb adductor (attachment on the crest), great gluteus (attachment on gluteal tuberosity), adductors (attachments in the medial lip area), lateral large muscle and short head of biceps muscle (both have attachments on the lateral lip).

The anterior surface of the shaft is mostly covered by the voluminous muscleindirect. And in the lower part of the attachments there is a joint muscle of the knee.

The proximal set of the femurconsists of the head of the femur and the neck, as well as two trochanterias: the greater and the less.

The femoral headis spherical in shape and covered with hyaline cartilage. It guides medial, centering on the acetabulum. On the medial part of the head there is a slightly rough dimple of the head to which the ligament of the femoral head attaches.

The neck of the femurconnects the head to the shaft at an angle of approximately 135 degrees (the scale ranges from 115 to 150 degrees). At the junction of the neck with the body there are two prominent cusps: laterally from the headgreater trochanter(forms an extension of the body upwards), and below and medially from the greater trochanter -minor trochanter . From the rear, both trochanterias are connected by the intertrochanteric crest, and from the front by the intertrochanteric line. The lesser trochanter is an attachment for the ilio-lumbar muscle, while in the area of ​​the greater trochanter, the following muscles are attached: small and medium gluteal, large lateral, pear-shaped, internal and external obturators and both twin muscles.

The greater trochanter can be felt through the skin layers, and often even visible on the side of the hip. It is easier for men, however, because in women the trochanteric area is usually covered with a thicker layer of fatty tissue.

The distal set of the femuris clearly thickened and contains two strongly convexfemoral condyles- medial and lateral. Both are partially covered with cartilage and serve for articular connection with the tibia. The condyles are separated byintercondylar fossathrough which runs transverselyintercondylar fracture . It is there, to the inner (tibial) surface of the lateral condyle,anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)is attached, and to the inner (sagittal) surface of the medial condyle -posterior cruciate ligament ( PCL) .

From the front, between the knuckles, there is a concave, so-calledpatellar areawhere the kneecap rests when the knee is extended. Above the condyles there areepicondyle - lateralandmedial . Collateral ligaments are attached to both condyles and epicondyle, as well as the following muscles: the great adductor, gastrocnemius, plantar and popliteal.

The femoral knuckles are easily felt from the side and the front to the touch.

Femoral functions

The femur is a strong and durable structure that provides a solid support for the entire body. It allows not only standing and taking a vertical positionbody, but also locomotion. It is also an attachment for many muscles of the lower limb and the girdle of the lower limb. Due to the fact that the weight of the body is transferred from the pelvis to the head of the femur, a person can maintain a stable vertical position and shift the center of gravity. The inside of the femur is also a rich storehouse of bone marrow.


Bochenek A., Reicher M., "Human Anatomy", volume I, PZWL Medical Publishing, Warsaw 2012.

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