Femur: anatomy, function and treatment – bones

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The femur is the largest bone in the human body. It is commonly known as the thigh bone (thigh is Latin for thigh) and runs from the thigh to the knee. The thigh of a grown man is about 19 inches long and weighs just over 10 ounces.

The femur is extremely hard and is not easy to break. Internal bleeding from a fractured femur can be significant, making it one of the few simple fractures that can be considered life-threatening.

Anatomy

The thigh is on the thigh. It is the largest bone in the body and the only bone in the upper leg. The femur is known as the long bone. (There are four types of bones: long bones, short bones, flat bones, and irregular bones.) Long bones are longer than they are wide, with spongy bones at both ends and a marrow-filled cavity on the shaft.

The thigh bone of an adult male is approximately 19 inches long and just under an inch in diameter. The proximal end of the femur (the part closest to the heart) is the head of the femur.

The femoral head is a ball that is part of the hip joint. This allows the leg to move at any angle.

Below the femoral head is the neck and the greater trochanter. The greater trochanter attaches to the tendons that connect to the gluteus minimus and medius. These muscles pull on the leg to help walking and running. This is called a leg or hip extension.

Below the greater trochanter is the lesser trochanter located at the base of the femoral neck. The lesser trochanter is the portion of the femur attached to a pair of muscles that help flex the thigh (lift the leg forward). Below the lesser trochanter is the gluteal tuberosity, to which the gluteus maximus muscle is attached.

The main axis of the femur is known as the body of the femur. The distal end of the femur is where it connects to the patella (kneecap) and the bones of the lower leg, lower leg, and fibula. The distal end of the femur has a seat that rests on top of the tibia. It has rounded edges on each side of the knee joint known as condyles. The cavity between the condyles is called the patellar groove.

Inside the body of the femur is the medullary cavity, which contains the bone marrow . At the ends of the femur are areas of compact bone that are hard and lack bone marrow. The compact bone is surrounded by cancellous bone, in which many small cavities are scattered. The neck and head of the femur contain cancellous bone.

Function

The femur is the main bone in the leg. It supports the weight of the body on the leg and is capable of supporting 30 times the body weight.

The femur provides articulation and support to the leg. The articulation allows you to stand, walk and run.

The femur is the main bone in the leg and all the other bones in the leg are attached to the distal part of the femur.

The medullary cavity contains red bone marrow, which is involved in the production of red blood cells. Over time, the red bone marrow is replaced by the yellow bone marrow, which helps store fat. The blood flow of the femur is difficult to measure. This is a significant amount, so large that a needle inserted into the cancellous bone can be used to inject enough fluid into the bloodstream to compensate for shock or dehydration.

Illustration by Cindy Chang, Get Drug Information

Related conditions

Fractures are the most common disease of the femur. It takes a lot of force to break the femur, although some areas of the femur are more vulnerable. The femoral neck is the most vulnerable to fractures. Decreasing bone density with age increases the likelihood of fractures in older people.

A hip dislocation occurs when the head of the femur separates from the acetabulum (the socket that houses the head of the femur). It is very difficult to distinguish a hip fracture (hip head or neck fracture) from a dislocated hip. Some healthcare providers attribute fractures or dislocations depending on whether the patient's leg is turned inward or outward after the injury. In fact, there is no other way to tell the difference between a hip fracture and a hip dislocation other than with an X-ray.

Perthes disease is a rare childhood disorder of the hip joint. This affects blood flow to the femoral head. Due to the loss of blood flow, the head of the femur stops and the bone dies, which is called osteonecrosis.

Femoral anteversion is a twisting of the thigh bones that occurs during childhood. Experts believe that this disease can affect up to 10% of all children. In most cases, the condition is corrected in adolescence without corrective surgery.

Bursitis can affect any joint in the body, including the hip and knee. A bursa is a small sac of fluid that helps the joints move.

Rehabilitation

Femur fractures generally require surgery followed by several weeks of rehabilitation and physical therapy. A hip dislocation may require surgery depending on the severity of the dislocation. Physical therapy is almost always required.

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