Lower Limb

The lower limb is subdivided by the hip joint, knee joint, and ankle joint into the regions:
  1. buttock (gluteal)
  2. thigh
  3. leg (crus)
  4. foot
The movements which occur at the hip joint are similar to those that take place at the shoulder joint except their range is more limited. Those at the knee joint occur mainly in one plane. When the knee is bent, it is said to be flexed; when it is straightened out it is extended. There is a small amount of rotation at the joint. The ankle joint is a simpler hinge type joint than the knee. When the foot is bent upwards, it is dorsiflexed or extended; when it is bent downwards, it is plantar flexed or flexed. Through the joints within the foot, the foot can be turned so that the sole of the foot is inwards, inversion or it can be turned so that the sole is turned outwards, eversion. The toes have limited movement when compared to the movements of the fingers, especially the thumb.

We will study the lower limb in the following order:
  1. bones of the lower limb
  2. anterior region of the thigh
  3. medial region of the thigh
  4. gluteal region
  5. posterior region of the thigh
  6. anterior region of the leg and dorsal region of foot
  7. lateral region of the leg
  8. posterior region of the leg
  9. sole of the foot
  10. ankle
  11. joints of the lower limb

Bones of the Lower Limb

We will first just take a general look at the skeleton of the lower limb and then, consider the bones in more detail when we get to each region.
There are 32 bones found in the lower limb:
  • hip bone (1)
  • femur (1)
  • patella (1)
  • tibia (1)
  • fibula (1)
  • tarsals (8)
  • metatarsals (5)
  • proximal phalanges (5)
  • intermediate phalanges (5)
  • distal phalanges (4)

The big toe (hallux) only has 2 phalanges

There are also 2 extra bones in the foot, called sesamoid bones. These small bones develop within the tendon of the flexor hallucis longus muscle to the big toe.

Anterior Thigh

Lower Limb Bones |  Anterior Thigh |  Medial Thigh |  Gluteal Region |  Posterior Thigh |  Anterior Leg and Dorsal Foot |  Lateral Leg |  Posterior Leg |  Sole of the Foot |  Ankle |  Joints of the Lower Limb |  Summary of Items in the Lower Limb | Radiographs of the Lower Limb |  Table of Muscles | 

cadaver This is copyrighted©1999 by Wesley Norman, PhD