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Thigh: Anatomy

The thigh is the region of the lower limb found between the hip and the knee joint Knee joint The knee joint is made up of the articulations between the femur, tibia, and patella bones, and is one of the largest and most complex joints of the human body. The knee is classified as a synovial hinge joint, which primarily allows for flexion and extension with a more limited degree of translation and rotation. Knee Joint: Anatomy. There is a single bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types in the thigh called the femur, which is surrounded by large muscles grouped into 3 fascial compartments. The thigh is supplied primarily by the femoral artery Femoral Artery The main artery of the thigh, a continuation of the external iliac artery. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy and its branches, drained by deep and superficial venous networks, and innervated by branches of the lumbar and sacral plexuses.

Last updated: 9 Mar, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Bone of the Thigh: Femur

  • The longest and strongest bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types in the human body
  • The only bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types located in the thigh
  • Articulations of the femur:
    • With the acetabulum of the hip bone Acetabulum of the hip bone The part of the pelvis that comprises the pelvic socket where the head of femur joins to form hip joint (acetabulofemoral joint). Hip Joint: Anatomy proximally: to form the hip joint Hip joint The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint formed by the head of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis. The hip joint is the most stable joint in the body and is supported by a very strong capsule and several ligaments, allowing the joint to sustain forces that can be multiple times the total body weight. Hip Joint: Anatomy
    • With the tibia Tibia The second longest bone of the skeleton. It is located on the medial side of the lower leg, articulating with the fibula laterally, the talus distally, and the femur proximally. Knee Joint: Anatomy distally: to form medial and lateral tibiofemoral articulations
    • With the patella Patella The flat, triangular bone situated at the anterior part of the knee. Knee Joint: Anatomy distally: to form the patellofemoral articulation
Segment Important landmarks
Proximal end
  • Head:
    • Spherical
    • Articulates with acetabulum to form the hip joint Hip joint The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint formed by the head of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis. The hip joint is the most stable joint in the body and is supported by a very strong capsule and several ligaments, allowing the joint to sustain forces that can be multiple times the total body weight. Hip Joint: Anatomy
    • Has the fovea Fovea An area approximately 1. 5 millimeters in diameter within the macula lutea where the retina thins out greatly because of the oblique shifting of all layers except the pigment epithelium layer. It includes the sloping walls of the fovea (clivus) and contains a few rods in its periphery. In its center (foveola) are the cones most adapted to yield high visual acuity, each cone being connected to only one ganglion cell. Eye: Anatomy for the ligament of the head on its posteroinferior surface
  • Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess:
  • Greater and lesser trochanters:
    • Sites of attachment Attachment The binding of virus particles to virus receptors on the host cell surface, facilitating virus entry into the cell. Virology for muscles of the hip, pelvis Pelvis The pelvis consists of the bony pelvic girdle, the muscular and ligamentous pelvic floor, and the pelvic cavity, which contains viscera, vessels, and multiple nerves and muscles. The pelvic girdle, composed of 2 “hip” bones and the sacrum, is a ring-like bony structure of the axial skeleton that links the vertebral column with the lower extremities. Pelvis: Anatomy, and thigh
    • Connected by the intertrochanteric line anteriorly and the intertrochanteric crest posteriorly
Shaft
  • Cylindrical
  • Convex anteriorly and concave posteriorly
  • Linea aspera: a longitudinal ridge found on the posterior surface made up of a medial and a lateral lip
Distal end
  • Patellar surface:
    • Anterior depression
    • Provides a gliding surface for the patella Patella The flat, triangular bone situated at the anterior part of the knee. Knee Joint: Anatomy (knee cap)
  • Medial and lateral condyles: articulate with the tibia Tibia The second longest bone of the skeleton. It is located on the medial side of the lower leg, articulating with the fibula laterally, the talus distally, and the femur proximally. Knee Joint: Anatomy to form the knee joint Knee joint The knee joint is made up of the articulations between the femur, tibia, and patella bones, and is one of the largest and most complex joints of the human body. The knee is classified as a synovial hinge joint, which primarily allows for flexion and extension with a more limited degree of translation and rotation. Knee Joint: Anatomy
  • Intercondylar fossa:
    • Separates the condyles of the distal femur posteriorly
    • Site of attachment Attachment The binding of virus particles to virus receptors on the host cell surface, facilitating virus entry into the cell. Virology for stabilizing ligaments of the knee

Fascial Compartments of the Thigh

The iliotibial tract or iliotibial band is a thickening of the fascia lata Fascia lata Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy located on the lateral surface of the thigh. The iliotibial tract is a stabilizer of the hip and knee.

  • Proximally: 
    • Splits into a superficial and deep layer, enclosing the tensor fascia Fascia Layers of connective tissue of variable thickness. The superficial fascia is found immediately below the skin; the deep fascia invests muscles, nerves, and other organs. Cellulitis latae muscle
    • Attaches proximally to the iliac crest of the pelvis Pelvis The pelvis consists of the bony pelvic girdle, the muscular and ligamentous pelvic floor, and the pelvic cavity, which contains viscera, vessels, and multiple nerves and muscles. The pelvic girdle, composed of 2 “hip” bones and the sacrum, is a ring-like bony structure of the axial skeleton that links the vertebral column with the lower extremities. Pelvis: Anatomy
  • Distally: 
    • Merges with the aponeurosis of the vastus lateralis muscle
    • Attaches to Gerdy’s tubercle on the lateral tibial condyle
Lateral view of the thigh

Lateral view of the thigh, featuring the iliotibial tract and tensor fasciae latae Tensor fasciae latae Gluteal Region: Anatomy muscle

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio.

The 3 intermuscular septa arise from the fascia lata Fascia lata Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy and attach to the linea aspera of the femur. The lateral, medial, and posterior intermuscular septums divide the thigh into the following:

  1. The anterior or extensor compartment:
    • Quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and vastus medialis)
    • Sartorius
  2. The posterior or flexor compartment:
  3. The medial or adductor compartment:
    • Adductor magnus
    • Adductor longus
    • Adductor brevis
    • Gracilis
    • Pectineus
Thigh cross-section at mid-shaft

Thigh cross-section at mid-shaft

Image by Lecturio.

Anterior Compartment of the Thigh

  • The anterior compartment of the thigh contains the following muscles:
    • Quadriceps femoris: comprises the rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and vastus lateralis
    • Sartorius
    • Sometimes, the iliopsoas is considered part of the anterior compartment; otherwise, it is considered a muscle of the hip joint Hip joint The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint formed by the head of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis. The hip joint is the most stable joint in the body and is supported by a very strong capsule and several ligaments, allowing the joint to sustain forces that can be multiple times the total body weight. Hip Joint: Anatomy/ pelvis Pelvis The pelvis consists of the bony pelvic girdle, the muscular and ligamentous pelvic floor, and the pelvic cavity, which contains viscera, vessels, and multiple nerves and muscles. The pelvic girdle, composed of 2 “hip” bones and the sacrum, is a ring-like bony structure of the axial skeleton that links the vertebral column with the lower extremities. Pelvis: Anatomy.
  • The primary function of the muscles of the anterior compartment of the thigh is knee extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs.
  • All these muscles all innervated by the femoral nerve Femoral Nerve A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (usually L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to provide motor innervation to extensors of the thigh and sensory innervation to parts of the thigh, lower leg, and foot, and to the hip and knee joints. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy.
Muscle Origin Insertion Innervation Function
Rectus femoris Anterior inferior iliac spine Spine The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy Tibial tuberosity Tibial tuberosity Leg: Anatomy via common quadriceps and patellar ligament Patellar ligament A band of fibrous tissue that attaches the apex of the patella to the lower part of the tubercle of the tibia. The ligament is actually the caudal continuation of the common tendon of the quadriceps femoris. The patella is embedded in that tendon. As such, the patellar ligament can be thought of as connecting the quadriceps femoris tendon to the tibia, and therefore it is sometimes called the patellar tendon. Osgood-Schlatter Disease Femoral nerve Femoral Nerve A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (usually L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to provide motor innervation to extensors of the thigh and sensory innervation to parts of the thigh, lower leg, and foot, and to the hip and knee joints. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy (L3, L4)
  • Extend the leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy at the knee
  • Rectus femoris can also support the iliopsoas in hip flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs.
Vastus lateralis Greater trochanter and the lateral lip of linea aspera
Vastus intermedius Anterior shaft of the femur
Vastus medialis Intertrochanteric line and medial lip of linea aspera
Sartorius Anterior superior iliac spine Anterior Superior Iliac Spine Chronic Apophyseal Injury Medial surface of the proximal tibia Tibia The second longest bone of the skeleton. It is located on the medial side of the lower leg, articulating with the fibula laterally, the talus distally, and the femur proximally. Knee Joint: Anatomy Femoral nerve Femoral Nerve A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (usually L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to provide motor innervation to extensors of the thigh and sensory innervation to parts of the thigh, lower leg, and foot, and to the hip and knee joints. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy (L2)
  • Flexes, abducts, and laterally rotates the hip
  • Flexes the knee

Posterior Compartment of the Thigh

  • The posterior compartment of the thigh contains the hamstring muscles:
  • The muscles of the posterior compartment have the primary function of knee flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs and hip extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs.
  • These muscles are innervated by branches of the sciatic nerve Sciatic Nerve A nerve which originates in the lumbar and sacral spinal cord (l4 to s3) and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the lower extremity. The sciatic nerve, which is the main continuation of the sacral plexus, is the largest nerve in the body. It has two major branches, the tibial nerve and the peroneal nerve. Gluteal Region: Anatomy.
Muscle Origin Insertion Innervation Function
Biceps Biceps Arm: Anatomy femoris Lateral surface of the fibula Fibula The bone of the lower leg lateral to and smaller than the tibia. In proportion to its length, it is the most slender of the long bones. Leg: Anatomy
  • Long head: tibial division of sciatic nerve Sciatic Nerve A nerve which originates in the lumbar and sacral spinal cord (l4 to s3) and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the lower extremity. The sciatic nerve, which is the main continuation of the sacral plexus, is the largest nerve in the body. It has two major branches, the tibial nerve and the peroneal nerve. Gluteal Region: Anatomy (L5, S1 S1 Heart Sounds)
  • Short head: common fibular division of sciatic nerve Sciatic Nerve A nerve which originates in the lumbar and sacral spinal cord (l4 to s3) and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the lower extremity. The sciatic nerve, which is the main continuation of the sacral plexus, is the largest nerve in the body. It has two major branches, the tibial nerve and the peroneal nerve. Gluteal Region: Anatomy ( S1 S1 Heart Sounds)
  • Flexes and laterally rotates the knee when flexed
  • Extends the hip
Semitendinosus Ischial tuberosity Ischial Tuberosity Chronic Apophyseal Injury Medial surface of the proximal tibia Tibia The second longest bone of the skeleton. It is located on the medial side of the lower leg, articulating with the fibula laterally, the talus distally, and the femur proximally. Knee Joint: Anatomy Tibial division of sciatic nerve Sciatic Nerve A nerve which originates in the lumbar and sacral spinal cord (l4 to s3) and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the lower extremity. The sciatic nerve, which is the main continuation of the sacral plexus, is the largest nerve in the body. It has two major branches, the tibial nerve and the peroneal nerve. Gluteal Region: Anatomy (L5, S1 S1 Heart Sounds) Extends the hip, flexes the knee, and medially rotates the knee when flexed
Semimembranosus Posterior surface of medial condyle of tibia Tibia The second longest bone of the skeleton. It is located on the medial side of the lower leg, articulating with the fibula laterally, the talus distally, and the femur proximally. Knee Joint: Anatomy

Medial Compartment of the Thigh

  • The medial compartment of the thigh contains the following muscles:
    • Adductor magnus, longus, and brevis
    • Gracilis
    • Pectineus
    • The obturator externus is sometimes included, although it is primarily an external rotator and secondarily an adductor.
  • The primary function of the muscles of the medial compartment is hip adduction Adduction Examination of the Upper Limbs.
  • These muscles are primarily innervated by the obturator nerve, except for the pectineus ( femoral nerve Femoral Nerve A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (usually L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to provide motor innervation to extensors of the thigh and sensory innervation to parts of the thigh, lower leg, and foot, and to the hip and knee joints. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy).
Muscle Origin Insertion Innervation Function
Adductor magnus
  • AP: obturator nerve (L3, L4)
  • HP: tibial nerve Tibial Nerve The medial terminal branch of the sciatic nerve. The tibial nerve fibers originate in lumbar and sacral spinal segments (L4 to S2). They supply motor and sensory innervation to parts of the calf and foot. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy (L4)
  • AP: adducts the hip
  • HP: extends the hip
Adductor longus Body of pubis Middle &frac13 of linea aspera Obturator nerve (L3) Adducts the hip
Adductor brevis Body and inferior ramus of pubis Proximal linea aspera
Gracilis Medial surface of the proximal tibia Tibia The second longest bone of the skeleton. It is located on the medial side of the lower leg, articulating with the fibula laterally, the talus distally, and the femur proximally. Knee Joint: Anatomy Obturator nerve (L2)
  • Adducts the hip
  • Flexes the knee
Pectineus Superior pubic ramus Pectineal line of femur Femoral nerve Femoral Nerve A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (usually L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to provide motor innervation to extensors of the thigh and sensory innervation to parts of the thigh, lower leg, and foot, and to the hip and knee joints. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy (L2) Adducts, flexes, and supports medial rotation Rotation Motion of an object in which either one or more points on a line are fixed. It is also the motion of a particle about a fixed point. X-rays of the hip

Pes PES Removal of plasma and replacement with various fluids, e.g., fresh frozen plasma, plasma protein fractions (ppf), albumin preparations, dextran solutions, saline. Used in treatment of autoimmune diseases, immune complex diseases, diseases of excess plasma factors, and other conditions. Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura anserinus

The distal end of the medial region of the thigh is the location of the pes anserinus or “goose foot,” which comprises the conjoined tendons of the sartorius, gracilis, and semitendinosus muscles inserting into the tibia Tibia The second longest bone of the skeleton. It is located on the medial side of the lower leg, articulating with the fibula laterally, the talus distally, and the femur proximally. Knee Joint: Anatomy.

Blood Supply

Arterial blood supply

Three arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology exit the pelvis Pelvis The pelvis consists of the bony pelvic girdle, the muscular and ligamentous pelvic floor, and the pelvic cavity, which contains viscera, vessels, and multiple nerves and muscles. The pelvic girdle, composed of 2 “hip” bones and the sacrum, is a ring-like bony structure of the axial skeleton that links the vertebral column with the lower extremities. Pelvis: Anatomy: the femoral, obturator, and inferior gluteal arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology. However, the femoral and obturator arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology continue toward the thigh, while the inferior gluteal supplies and ends in the gluteal region Gluteal region The gluteal region is located posterior to the pelvic girdle and extends distally into the upper leg as the posterior thigh. The gluteal region consists of the gluteal muscles and several clinically important arteries, veins, and nerves. The muscles of the gluteal region help to move the hip joint during walking, running, standing, and sitting. Gluteal Region: Anatomy.

  • Femoral artery Femoral Artery The main artery of the thigh, a continuation of the external iliac artery. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy: 
    • Supplies the majority of the lower limb
    • A direct continuation of the external iliac artery
    • Originates and enters the thigh upon passing under the inguinal canal Inguinal canal The tunnel in the lower anterior abdominal wall through which the spermatic cord, in the male; round ligament, in the female; nerves; and vessels pass. Its internal end is at the deep inguinal ring and its external end is at the superficial inguinal ring. Inguinal Canal: Anatomy and Hernias 
    • Passes through the femoral triangle Femoral triangle Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy, where it can be palpated
    • Enters the adductor canal distally in the thigh, terminates at the adductor hiatus, and becomes the popliteal artery Popliteal Artery The continuation of the femoral artery coursing through the popliteal fossa; it divides into the anterior and posterior tibial arteries. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy
    • Has several branches:
      • Profunda femoris artery (deep artery of the thigh): the main branch of the femoral; supplies most of the structures in the thigh and gives off perforating branches and the medial and lateral circumflex femoral arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology ( MCFAs MCFAs Digestion and Absorption and LCFAs LCFAs Digestion and Absorption) to the hip joint Hip joint The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint formed by the head of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis. The hip joint is the most stable joint in the body and is supported by a very strong capsule and several ligaments, allowing the joint to sustain forces that can be multiple times the total body weight. Hip Joint: Anatomy
      • Superficial epigastric artery
      • Superficial circumflex iliac artery
      • Superficial external pudendal artery
      • Deep external pudendal artery
  • Obturator artery: 
    • Branch of the internal iliac artery
    • Passes through the obturator foramen to the muscles of the medial compartment
    • Gives off important extra-pelvic branches:
      • Anterior branch: supplies the obturator externus muscle, adductor muscles, and skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions over the medial thigh
      • Posterior branch: supplies the muscles attached to the ischial tuberosity Ischial Tuberosity Chronic Apophyseal Injury
      • Artery of the ligamentum teres Ligamentum teres A cord-like remnant structure formed from the closed left fetal umbilical vein. It is located along the lower edge of the falciform ligament. Liver: Anatomy: supplies the head of the femur Head of the femur The hemispheric articular surface at the upper extremity of the thigh bone. Hip Joint: Anatomy

Venous drainage

  • Deep venous system:
  • Superficial venous system: 
    • The great saphenous vein originates from the dorsal venous arch Dorsal venous arch Foot: Anatomy of the foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot: Anatomy.
    • Ascends the medial side of the leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy passing posterior to the medial condyle at the knee
    • Drains into the femoral vein in the femoral triangle Femoral triangle Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy

Innervation

The thigh is innervated by branches of the lumbar and sacral plexus Sacral plexus Pelvis: Anatomy.

Nerve Origin Motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology supply Sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology supply
Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve Lumbar plexus (L2–L3) Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of the anterolateral thigh
Posterior femoral cutaneous nerve Posterior femoral cutaneous nerve Gluteal Region: Anatomy Sacral plexus Sacral plexus Pelvis: Anatomy ( S2 S2 Heart Sounds S3 S3 Heart Sounds) Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of the gluteal region Gluteal region The gluteal region is located posterior to the pelvic girdle and extends distally into the upper leg as the posterior thigh. The gluteal region consists of the gluteal muscles and several clinically important arteries, veins, and nerves. The muscles of the gluteal region help to move the hip joint during walking, running, standing, and sitting. Gluteal Region: Anatomy, posterior perineum Perineum The body region lying between the genital area and the anus on the surface of the trunk, and to the shallow compartment lying deep to this area that is inferior to the pelvic diaphragm. The surface area is between the vulva and the anus in the female, and between the scrotum and the anus in the male. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy, and posterior thigh
Femoral nerve Femoral Nerve A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (usually L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to provide motor innervation to extensors of the thigh and sensory innervation to parts of the thigh, lower leg, and foot, and to the hip and knee joints. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy
  • Largest branch of the lumbar plexus
  • Dorsal branches of L2–4 ventral rami
  • Muscles of anterior compartment
  • Iliacus
  • Pectineus
  • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of anterior thigh
  • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of lower &frac23 of medial thigh
Saphenous nerve Saphenous nerve Foot: Anatomy Branch of the femoral nerve Femoral Nerve A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (usually L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to provide motor innervation to extensors of the thigh and sensory innervation to parts of the thigh, lower leg, and foot, and to the hip and knee joints. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of lower &frac23 of the medial thigh, medial lower leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy, and foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot: Anatomy
Obturator nerve
  • Lumbar plexus
  • Ventral branches of L2-4 ventral rami
Muscles of the medial compartment Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of upper &frac13 of the medial thigh
Sciatic nerve Sciatic Nerve A nerve which originates in the lumbar and sacral spinal cord (l4 to s3) and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the lower extremity. The sciatic nerve, which is the main continuation of the sacral plexus, is the largest nerve in the body. It has two major branches, the tibial nerve and the peroneal nerve. Gluteal Region: Anatomy (thickest nerve in the human body) Tibial branch: Muscles of the posterior compartment None in the thigh
Lower limb nerves

Innervation of the lower limbs

Image by Lecturio.

Clinical Relevance

The following conditions are clinically relevant to the thigh:

  • Femoral shaft fracture Fracture A fracture is a disruption of the cortex of any bone and periosteum and is commonly due to mechanical stress after an injury or accident. Open fractures due to trauma can be a medical emergency. Fractures are frequently associated with automobile accidents, workplace injuries, and trauma. Overview of Bone Fractures: a fracture Fracture A fracture is a disruption of the cortex of any bone and periosteum and is commonly due to mechanical stress after an injury or accident. Open fractures due to trauma can be a medical emergency. Fractures are frequently associated with automobile accidents, workplace injuries, and trauma. Overview of Bone Fractures anywhere along the shaft or diaphysis Diaphysis The shaft of long bones. Bones: Structure and Types of the femur. Femoral shaft fractures generally occur in young adults due to high-impact injuries. In the elderly, these fractures are usually due to low-impact falls, even a fall from standing, and are related to osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass and density leading to an increased number of fractures. There are 2 forms of osteoporosis: primary, which is commonly postmenopausal or senile; and secondary, which is a manifestation of immobilization, underlying medical disorders, or long-term use of certain medications. Osteoporosis. Typically present as a painfully swollen, tense thigh with restricted range of motion Range of motion The distance and direction to which a bone joint can be extended. Range of motion is a function of the condition of the joints, muscles, and connective tissues involved. Joint flexibility can be improved through appropriate muscle strength exercises. Examination of the Upper Limbs. Vascular compromise secondary to blood loss and fat embolization Embolization A method of hemostasis utilizing various agents such as gelfoam, silastic, metal, glass, or plastic pellets, autologous clot, fat, and muscle as emboli. It has been used in the treatment of spinal cord and intracranial arteriovenous malformations, renal arteriovenous fistulas, gastrointestinal bleeding, epistaxis, hypersplenism, certain highly vascular tumors, traumatic rupture of blood vessels, and control of operative hemorrhage. Gastrointestinal Bleeding are possible complications.
  • Proximal femur fractures: most commonly seen in the elderly and related to osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass and density leading to an increased number of fractures. There are 2 forms of osteoporosis: primary, which is commonly postmenopausal or senile; and secondary, which is a manifestation of immobilization, underlying medical disorders, or long-term use of certain medications. Osteoporosis. Generally classified into intracapsular and extracapsular fractures; intracapsular fractures may lead to avascular Avascular Corneal Abrasions, Erosion, and Ulcers necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage of the femoral head.
  • Femoral hernia Femoral hernia A femoral hernia is an uncommon type of groin hernia in which intra-abdominal contents herniate under the inguinal ligament and through the femoral ring into the femoral canal. More common in adults than in children, femoral hernias usually present with swelling that protrudes into the femoral triangle. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy: an uncommon type of groin Groin The external junctural region between the lower part of the abdomen and the thigh. Male Genitourinary Examination hernia Hernia Protrusion of tissue, structure, or part of an organ through the bone, muscular tissue, or the membrane by which it is normally contained. Hernia may involve tissues such as the abdominal wall or the respiratory diaphragm. Hernias may be internal, external, congenital, or acquired. Abdominal Hernias, in which intraabdominal contents herniate under the inguinal ligament Inguinal Ligament Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy and through the femoral ring Femoral ring Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy into the femoral canal Femoral canal Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy. More common in adults than in children, femoral hernias usually present with swelling Swelling Inflammation that worsens with coughing or straining and that protrudes into the femoral triangle Femoral triangle Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy (inferiorly to the inguinal ligament Inguinal Ligament Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy and medial to the femoral vein).

References

  1. Drake, R.L., Vogl, A.W., & Mitchell, A.W.M. (2014). Gray’s Anatomy for Students (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone.
  2. Bordoni, B., & Varacallo, M. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Thigh Quadriceps Muscle. [Updated 2020 Jul 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513334/
  3. Khan, A., & Arain, A. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Anterior Thigh Muscles. [Updated 2020 Aug 15]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538425/

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