UAMS Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences - Topographical Anatomy of the Lower limb

Gross Anatomy


Topographical Anatomy of the Lower Limb - Listed Alphabetically

Structure/Space Description/Boundaries Significance
adductor canal a musculo-fascial canal that contains the large neurovascular bundle of the anterior thigh; its boundaries are: anterior - sartorius m.; lateral - vastus medialis m.; posterior - adductor longus m. and adductor magnus m.; it begins proximally at the inferior angle of the femoral triangle and ends distally at the adductor hiatus adductor canal contains the femoral a. and v., the saphenous n. and the nerve to the vastus medialis m.; also known as: Hunter's canal, subsartorial canal
adductor hiatus an opening in the tendon of insertion of the adductor magnus m.; its boundaries are: medial - portion of the tendon of adductor magnus that attaches to the adductor tubercle, lateral - insertion of the adductor magnus into the linea aspera, inferior - femur femoral a. and v. pass through the adductor hiatus to reach the posterior surface of the knee, where their name changes to popliteal a. and v.
anterior compartment, leg a connective tissue compartment that contains muscles that dorsiflex the ankle; its boundaries are: tibia, fibula, interosseous membrane, anterior intermuscular septum anterior compartment of the leg contains the tibialis anterior m., extensor hallucis longus m., extensor digitorum longus m., fibularis tertius m.; it also contains the anterior tibial a. and the deep fibular n.; also known as: extensor compartment of the leg
anterior compartment, thigh a connective tissue compartment that contains muscles that extend the knee; its boundaries are: anterior and lateral - fascia lata of the thigh; posterior ; femur, medial intermuscular septum and lateral intermuscular septum anterior compartment of the thigh contains the quadriceps femoris m.and sartorius m.; also known as extensor compartment of the thigh
fascia lata deep fascia forming a tubular investment of the thigh fascia lata is thickened laterally to form the iliotibial tract/band; it is connected to the femur by the lateral and medial intermuscular septa which divide the thigh into compartments; Scarpa's fascia attaches to the external surface of the fascia lata inferior to the inguinal ligament
fascia, crural deep fascia forming a tubular investment of the leg crural fascia is continuous with the fascia lata at the level of the knee; it is connected to the fibula by the anterior and posterior intermuscular septa; crural fascia is thickened near the ankle to form the extensor and flexor retinacula
fascia, gluteal deep fascia covering gluteus medius m., it extends between the iliac crest and superolateral border of the gluteus maximus m. also known as: gluteal aponeurosis
femoral canal a short diverticulum within the femoral sheath that extends distal to the inguinal ligament on the medial side of the femoral vessels; its boundaries are: medial - lacunar ligament; lateral - fascia on the femoral vein; anterior - inguinal ligament; posterior - fascia on the pectineus m. femoral canal is the medial compartment of the femoral sheath; it opens into the abdominal cavity superiorly at the femoral ring; it may be the site of a femoral hernia; usually contains a deep inguinal lymph node (gland of Cloquet)
femoral ring opening into the femoral canal; its boundaries are: medial - lacunar ligament, lateral - fascia on the femoral vein, anterior - inguinal ligament, posterior - fascia on the pectineus m. if a femoral hernia develops, the herniated gut passes through the femoral ring
femoral triangle a musculo-fascial triangle on the anterior surface of the thigh; its boundaries are: superior - inguinal ligament, lateral - sartorius m., medial - medial edge of the adductor longus m. femoral triangle contains the femoral a., v. and n.; textbooks may disagree on the medial boundary of this triangle
Hunter's canal a musculo-fascial canal that contains the large neurovascular bundle of the anterior thigh; its boundaries are: anterior - sartorius m.; lateral - vastus medialis m.; posterior - adductor longus m. and adductor magnus m.; it begins proximally at the inferior angle of the femoral triangle and ends distally at the adductor hiatus Hunter's canal contains the femoral a. and v., the saphenous n. and the nerve to the vastus medialis m.; also known as: adductor canal, subsartorial canal
lateral compartment , thigh a connective tissue compartment that contains the muscles of the gluteal region; it is located posterolateral to the hip joint lateral compartment of the thigh contains: tensor fasciae latae m., gluteus maximus m., gluteus medius m., gluteus minimis m., piriformis m., superior and inferior gemellus mm., quadratus femoris m.; obturator internus tendon; also known as: gluteal compartment of the thigh
lateral compartment, leg a connective tissue compartment that contains the muscles that evert the ankle joint; its boundaries are: anterior, lateral and medial - crural fascia; posterior - anterior and posterior intermuscular septa, fibula lateral compartment of the leg contains: fibularis longus m., fibularis brevis m.; superficial fibular n.; also known as: evertor compartment of the leg
medial compartment, thigh a connective tissue compartment that contains the muscles that adduct the thigh; its boundaries are: anterior - medial intermuscular septum; posterior - fascia between the medial and posterior compartments; medial - fascial lata; lateral - femur medial compartment of the thigh contains: pectineus m., adductor longus m., adductor brevis m., adductor magnus m., gracilis m., obturator externus m.; also known as: adductor compartment of the thigh
popliteal fossa the shallow depression on the posterior surface of the knee; its boundaries are: superomedial - tendons of semimembranosus and semitendinosus mm., superolateral - tendon of biceps femoris m., inferior - medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius m. popliteal fossa contains: popliteal a. and v. and their branches; tibial n, common fibular n., popliteus m.
posterior compartment , leg a connective tissue compartment that contains the muscles that plantar flex the ankle joint; its boundaries are: anterior - tibia, fibula and interosseous membrane; lateral, medial and posterior - crural fascia posterior compartment of the leg contains: superficially - gastrocnemius m., soleus m., plantaris m.; deeply - popliteus m., tibialis posterior m., flexor digitorum longus m., flexor hallucis longus m.; it also contains the posterior tibial a. and v. and the tibial n.
posterior compartment, thigh a connective tissue compartment that contains the muscles that flex the knee joint and extend the hip joint; its boundaries are: anterior - lateral intermuscular septum, femur and fascia between the medial and posterior compartments; lateral, medial and posterior - fascia lata posterior compartment of the thigh contains: semimembranosus m., semitendinosus m., biceps femoris m.; sciatic nerve; also known as: hamstring compartment
saphenous hiatus an opening in the fascia lata located inferior to the inguinal ligament and lateral to the pubic tubercle saphenous hiatus is the site of passage of the greater saphenous vein which joins the femoral vein; it is closed by the cribriform fascia
subsartorial canal a musculo-fascial canal that contains the large neurovascular bundle of the anterior thigh; its boundaries are: anterior - sartorius m.; lateral - vastus medialis m.; posterior - adductor longus m. and adductor magnus m.; it begins proximally at the inferior angle of the femoral triangle and ends distally at the adductor hiatus subsartorial canal contains the femoral a. and v., the saphenous n. and the nerve to the vastus medialis m.; also known as: adductor canal, Hunter's canal


Some of the material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest and Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York. Copyright 1995.

The content of these tables has been edited for use in this course by Patrick W. Tank, Ph.D.
Copyright 2009, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Unauthorized use is prohibited.




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