March 9, 2008

the Lower Extremities

Filed under: — Peter Laws @ 4:00 am

The lower extremity is composed of the bones of the thigh, leg, foot, and the patella (commonly known as the kneecap).

FemurThe Thigh

The thigh is the region between the hip and the knee and is composed of a single bone called the femur or thighbone. The femur is the longest, largest, and strongest bone in the body.

LegThe Leg

The leg is technically only the region from the knee to the ankle. It is formed by the fibula on side away from the body (lateral side) and the tibia, also called the shin bone, on the side nearest the body (medial side). The tibia connects to the femur to form the knee joint and with the talus, a foot bone, to allow the ankle to flex and extend. The tibia is larger than the fibula because it bears most of the weight, while the fibula serves as an area for muscle attachment.

The Patella

The patella or kneecap is a large, triangular sesamoid bone between the femur and the tibia. It is formed in response to the strain in the tendon that forms the knee. The patella protects the knee joint and strengthens the tendon that forms the knee.

The bones of the lower extremities are the heaviest, largest, and strongest bones in the body because they must bear the entire weight of the body when a person is standing in the upright position.

FootThe Foot

The foot, or pes, contains the 26 bones of the ankle, instep, and the five toes. The ankle, or tarsus, is composed of the 7 tarsal bones which correspond to the carpals in the wrist. The largest tarsal bone is called the calcaneus or heel bone. The talus rests on top of the calcaneus and is connected to the tibia. Directly in front of the talus is the navicular bone. The remaining bones from medial to lateral are the medial, intermediate, the lateral cuneiform bones, and the cuboid bone.

The metatarsal and phalanges bones of the foot are similar in number and position to the metacarpal and phalanges bones of the hand. The five metatarsal bones are numbered I to V starting on the medial side with the big toe. The first metatarsal bone is larger than the others because it plays a major role in supporting the body’s weight. The 14 phalanges of the foot, as with the hand, are arranged in a proximal row, a middle row, and a distal row, with the big toe, or hallux, having only a proximal and distal phalanx.

The foot’s two arches are formed by the structure and arrangement of the bones and are maintained by tendons and ligaments. The arches give when weight is placed on the foot and spring back when the weight is lifted off of the foot. The arches may fall due to a weakening of the ligaments and tendons in the foot.

Be Sociable, Share!

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.