The human leg of the human body includes the foot, thigh and even the hip or gluteal region. Legs are used for standing, and all forms of locomotion including recreational such as dancing, and constitute a significant portion of a person’s mass. Female legs generally have greater hip anteversion and tibiofemoral angles, but shorter femur and tibial lengths than those in males
The femur, or thigh bone, is the largest, heaviest, and strongest bone in the human body. Many strong thigh muscles attach to the femur and pull on the femur during movements of the hip and knee joints.
At the proximal end of the femur is a rounded prominence known as the head of the femur. The head of the femur forms the ball and socket hip joint with the acetabulum of the hip bone. The hip joint gives the leg an incredible range of motion while still providing support to the body’s weight.
At the distal end of the femur, two rounded condyles meet the tibia and fibula bones of the lower leg to form the knee joint. The knee is a strong but flexible hinge joint that uses muscles and ligaments to withstand the torques and strains of powerful leg movements. Between the femur and tibia is the meniscus, a layer of tough fibrocartilage that acts as a shock absorber.
In the lower leg, the tibia bears most of the body’s weight while the fibula supports the muscles of balance in the lower leg and ankle. The tibia forms the flexible ankle joint with the tarsal bones of the foot. The calcaneus, or heel bone, is the largest tarsal bone and rests on the ground when the body is standing.
The tarsal bones and the five long metatarsal bones together form the arches of the foot. Like the tarsal bones, the position of the metatarsals can be adjusted to change the shape of the foot and affect balance and posture of the body.
Extending from the distal end of the metatarsals are the tiny phalanges of the toes. The phalanges connect to several muscles in the leg via long tendons. The phalanges can flex or extend to change the shape of the foot for balance, and provide added leverage to the foot during walking.
Common conditions of the bones and joints of the leg include:
- Hip Osteoarthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hip
- Paget’s Disease of Bone
- Hip Fracture
- Blount’s Disease
- Shin Splints
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