Femur Bone: Definition, Location & Parts

Instructor: Joshua Bowles

Joshua is a Sports Medicine and Athletic Training Instructor and has a Master's degree in Kinesiology.

In this lesson, we will cover the femur bone, commonly referred to as the thigh bone. We will also take a look at the location and distinct parts and discuss the importance of this particular bone.

The Femur

Two hundred and six. That's the number of total bones we have in our body. We have 206 unique parts that make up our skeleton and they are inherently different from each other. One of those bones is called the femur, commonly referred to as the thigh bone. This is that odd-looking bone we've seen from time to time on TV shows or movies when someone needs that perfect example of a large bone. It has a rounded knob on the end that we will discuss later and it is the main reason we are able to move around on our legs.

Definition

The femur is the longest bone in the human body. Many agree that it is also the strongest (the jaw bone being the other contender). The two femur bones serve as pillars in our legs that allow us to walk, run, jump, and make all kinds of other movements.

There are five types of bones - long bones, short bones, sesamoid bones, irregular bones and flat bones. The femur bone is a long bone. Long bones are probably the type most people think of when we visualize what a bone should look like. This type of bone is long and thin and they vary in size from the largest bone in the human body (the femur) to a much smaller version in your fingers and toes called phalanges. The long bone's primary function is as the major support system of the body and as a movement facilitator.

Location

The femur is located, as the common term for it suggests, in the thigh or upper portion of the leg and it runs from the hip to the knee. The proximal end of the bone, the part that is located closest to the hip, has the femoral head that helps to create the joint within the hip. The distal end of the femur is located closest to the knee.


Highlighted femur bones in the legs
Femur bone location


Parts

Each bone in the human body has a unique set of structures associated with it. The femur is certainly no different. In fact, the femur has a few very important structures. Two, in particular, are known as the greater and lesser trochanter. The term trochanter means a large projection located on a bone that serves as an attachment point for certain muscles. The greater trochanter is the larger of the two and is located on the proximal end of the bone. The lesser trochanter is, of course, smaller and is located on the distal end of the femur.

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