Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Swelling of Both Legs Anatomy

To better understand leg swelling it helps to understand the anatomy of the leg.

The entire leg contains four bones:

  • Femur:
    • The thighbone
  • Patella:
    • The kneecap
  • Tibia:
    • A thick bone in the front of the lower leg
  • Fibula:
    • A thin bone on the side of the lower leg

The thigh contains the largest bone in the body, called the femur. The femur begins at the hip and ends at the knee. The muscles of the thigh control movement of the knee and hip. The patella, or kneecap, protects the front of the knee.

The lower leg contains two long bones, called the tibia and fibula. The muscles of the lower leg control movement of the foot and ankle.

Leg anatomy examples:
  • Muscles and bones of the leg
  • Muscles of the buttock and thigh
  • Regions of the lower leg where tenderness may be a sign of a fracture
  • Internal structures of the knee

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Swelling of Both Legs References
  1. Blankfield RP, Finkelhor RS, Alexander JJ, Flocke SA, Maiocco J, Goodwin M, Zyzanski SJ. Etiology and diagnosis of bilateral leg edema in primary care. Am J Med. 1998 Sep;105(3):192-7. [9753021]
  2. Blankfield RP, Zyzanski SJ. Bilateral leg edema, pulmonary hypertension, and obstructive sleep apnea: a cross-sectional study. J Fam Pract. 2002 Jun;51(6):561-4. [12100781]
  3. Ely JW, Osheroff JA, Chambliss ML, Ebell MH. Approach to leg edema of unclear etiology. J Am Board Fam Med. 2006 Mar-Apr;19(2):148-60. [16513903]
  4. O'Brien JG, Chennubhotla SA, Chennubhotla RV. Treatment of edema. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jun 1;71(11):2111-7. [15952439]
  5. Partsch H, Winiger J, Lun B. Compression stockings reduce occupational leg swelling. Dermatol Surg. 2004 May;30(5):737-43. [15099316]
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