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Anatomy of the femur[1]

Greater Trochanter Bursa

  • Subgluteus maximus bursa
    • Lateral to the greater trochanter, between the tendons of gluteus maximus and medius
    • Sometimes divided into up to 4 seperate bursa
    • Deep subgluteus maximus bursa: largest, most consistent of these subdivisions, often referred to as the “trochanteric bursa”, implicated in Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome
    • Other components include secondary deep, superficial, gluteofemoral
  • Subgluteus medius bursa
    • Up to 3 bursa, largest on anterior surface of greater trochanter
  • Gluteus minimus bursa
    • Minor bursa, deep to the minimus insertion on the anterior aspect of the greater trochanter.

Trochlear Groove

  • Partially responsible for stabilizing patella during knee flexion and extension

Other Structures

  • Peritrochanteric Compartment
    • Contents: "trochanteric bursa"
    • Anterior border: proximal Sartorious, Tensor Fascia Latae
    • Medial border: Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus
    • Lateral border: fibers of Iliotibial Band
    • Inferior border: terminates at the level of the gluteal sling insertion
    • Clinical significance: Portal for hip arthroscopy
  • Lateral Compartment
  • Peripheral compartment

Pediatric Considerations

  • Distal femur physis
    • Characterized by 5 important ridges, notches and peaks that change and evolve with skeletal maturity[2]
    • Composed primarily of cartilage, made up of 3 distinct zones of maturation
    • Contributes an average of 1 cm of annual growth to lower limb
    • Growth occurs until 14-16 in females, 16-18 in males
    • High rate of growth arrest following fracture
  • Significance[3]
    • Contributes to 70% of the growth of the femur
    • Contributes 35-40% of the entire length of the lower limb
    • LCL, MCL attach to the physis

Muscle Insertion


  • Femoral neck-shaft axis forms an angle of 120-135°

Vascular Supply

  • General
  • Femoral Neck is tenuous
    • Medial femoral circumflex artery
    • Lateral femoral circumflex artery
    • Artery of the ligamentum teres (minor)


Clinical Significance

See Also


  1. Image courtesy of //www.britannica.com/, "Femur"
  2. Liu, Raymond W., et al. "An anatomic study of the distal femoral epiphysis." Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics 33.7 (2013): 743-749.
  3. Moran, M., and M. F. Macnicol. "(ii) Paediatric epiphyseal fractures around the knee." Current Orthopaedics 20.4 (2006): 256-265.
Created by:
John Kiel on 27 June 2020 15:44:00
Last edited:
17 March 2023 17:17:01