Bones of the Leg and Foot: Names, Anatomy & Functions

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  • 0:05 The Leg
  • 0:24 The Femur
  • 1:14 The Tibia and the Patella
  • 1:42 The Fibula
  • 2:08 The Tarsals and Metatarsals
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
Find out about the major bones which help you walk. We'll go over the femur, patella, fibula, tibia, tarsals, metatarsals, and something called the trochanter.

The Leg

To go out onto the football field as the kicker for your team, you need to have a pretty good kick to get a field goal. Whether it's for the winning point or not, both of your legs will be doing different things to complete the kick. However, both of them have the same set of bones to help you accomplish this task.

The Femur

Diagram of the parts of the femur
Femur Parts

First, you need to bend your kicking leg back. This involves moving back the bone of the upper leg whose head articulates with the pelvis, called the femur, or more commonly called the thigh bone. The head of the femur is a ball-like-looking thing that helps to form, unsurprisingly, a ball and socket joint by connecting to the pelvis. We know this joint by its informal name, the hip joint.

In addition, several important large, bony protuberances of the femur where leg muscles attach - individually called a trochanter - play a critical role in helping the thigh muscles running between the femur and hip attach to the femur. This ability to attach to a specific point on the femur is one reason why you are able to move your leg about.

The Tibia and Patella

When kicking the ball, your knee must bend back as well. The knee is a type of hinge joint that involves articulations between three main structures. One articulation is between the femur and tibia, more commonly known as the shin bone, which is the largest of the two lower leg bones.

The other articulation is between the femur and the patella, the bone that is more commonly known as the kneecap.

The Fibula

The fibula is located near many major leg muscles.
Fibula Diagram

Another bone that is part of the lower leg and the knee joint is called the fibula. This is a bone located on the lateral, or outer part, of the lower leg and is more commonly known as the calf bone. The fibula is very important because a lot of leg muscles and an important ligament attach to this bone, helping your leg to move about and keep stable during the kick.

The Tarsals and Metatarsals

As your knee snaps forward to kick the football, the bones of the toes of your feet, called phalanges, will contact the ball first. With the exception of the big toe, each toe has three phalanges. The proximal phalanges - that is to say, the ones closest to the foot - articulate with the metatarsal bones, which are the five long bones that make up the foot.

An image of the metatarsal bones in the foot

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