Author: Jana Vasković•Reviewer: Alexandra OsikaLast reviewed: September 23, 2021Reading time: 13 minutes


The tibia (shin bone) is a long bone the the leg, uncovered medial to the fibula. The is additionally the load bearing bone of the leg, which is why it is the second largest bone in the human body after the femur. Fun reality here is that ‘tibia" is the Latin word for tubular musical instruments like the flute. Castle were sometimes made from tibial skeletal of animals, so the size of the tibia was advantageous in plenty of ways other than just for bearing body load while walking.

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Like other lengthy bones, there room three components of the tibia: proximal, shaft, and also distal. The proximal component participates in the knee joint, conversely, the distal component contributes come the fishing eye joint. The tibial shaft on the other hand offers numerous sites because that leg muscle attachment.

Key facts around the tibia
Proximal part landmarksLateral and also medial condyles (articulation with femur–knee joint)Tibial plateauAnterior and also posterior intercondylar areasTubercle that iliotibial tractTibial tuberosity
Shaft landmarksPosterior, medial, and also lateral surfacesSoleal heat (posterior surface)Anterior, interosseous, and also medial borders
Distal component landmarksMedial malleolus (articulation through talus–ankle joint)Fibular notch (articulation v distal finish of fibula)
JointsKnee jointAnkle jointSuperior/proximal tibiofibular jointMiddle tibiofibular jointInferior/distal tibiofibular joint
Muscle attachmentsMuscles the insert onto tibia: sartorius, gracilis, quadriceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus, popliteusMuscles that originate native tibia: tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus, soleus, tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum longus
Clinical relationsFractures

This post will focus on the gross anatomy of the tibia and its vital anatomical relationships.

Clinical notes
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Proximal part

The proximal end of the tibia attributes several necessary landmarks which role as sites of muscle attachment and articular surfaces: two tibial condyles (medial and also lateral) separated by intercondylar areas (anterior and also posterior). 


The exceptional surface the the medial condyle is round in shape and somewhat concave, so that fits perfectly into a joint through the medial condyle that the femur. The medial meniscus is sandwiched in between the tibia and femur in this joint v attachments to all margins except for the lateral margin. Instead, the lateral margin extends to the medial intercondylar tubercle.

On the other hand, the premium surface of the lateral condyle is pretty much a mirror picture of the medial condyle. It is round in shape, rather convex, and articulates with the lateral condyle of the femur. The lateral meniscus attaches to all of its margins except for the medial margin. The medial margin extends to the lateral intercondylar tubercle. Note the the lateral and medial menisci room the pads that fibrocartilage placed to ease the press that istransfer indigenous the femur come the condyles.


The remarkable surfaces the the condyles are flattened and together they form the superior articular surface referred to as the tibial plateau. Here, the tibial condyles articulate with the femoral condyles in ~ the knee joint. The articular surfaces are separated through two tiny prominences, the medial and also lateral intercondylar tubercles. These tubercles form the intercondylar eminence, i beg your pardon is bordered by the anterior and posterior intercondylar areas.

The posterior intercondylar area additionally has facets for frameworks to attach. Anterior to posterior these are: the posterior horn that the lateral meniscus, the posterior horn of the medial meniscus, and also the posterior cruciate ligament.

On the lateral surface of the proximal finish of the tibia simply inferior to the lateral condyle is the bony prominence referred to as the tubercle the iliotibial tract or Gerdy’s tubercle. Inferior and lateral come it is the articular facet because that the head of the fibula where the tibia and also fibula articulate via the superior/proximal tibiofibular joint.

At the anterior surface ar of the proximal end is the tibial tuberosity. That is one attachment site for the patellar ligament and you can easily spot and palpate this importance just listed below your knee. Inferiorly, the tibial tuberosity is constant with the anterior border that the tibia.


The tibial shaft is triangular in cross-section and also so it has three surface (posterior, medial, and also lateral) and also three borders (anterior, interosseous, and medial).


The medial surface, frequently called the shin, is bound by the anterior and also medial borders. It is subcutaneous, meaning that over there is only a little fat in between the bone and also the skin and also it has no muscles attachments along most of it. Due to the fact that of this, the medial surface ar is palpable along the entire length that the anteromedial facet of the leg. The lateral surface is bound by the anterior and also interosseous margins and is covered by the muscles of the anterior foot compartment. The posterior surface is bound by the interosseous and medial margins and features the soleal heat crossing this surface diagonally.

Of the three borders, the anterior border is the most prominent. It deserve to be seen as a unique margin that begins at the tibial tuberosity and also descends every the way to the distal part of the bone. The interosseous border begins worse to the tubercle that the iliotibial tract and also descends down the lateral surface of the tibia. This border connects to the interosseous border that the fibula by the interosseous membrane. At the inferior finish of the tibia, the interosseous border is replaced with the fibular notch in i beg your pardon the distal end of the fibula fits. The medial border is most prominent on the medial facet of the middle 3rd of the that tibia.

Tibia is only one of the countless bones consisting of the person body. Carry out you know the rest? check yourself and also learn them very fast using active recall and also"s skeletal system quizzes!

Distal part

At the distal finish of the tibia, the bone has adjusted shaped from triangle in cross section to rectangle-shaped in overcome section. 

The medial surface of the distal finish features a bony extension called the medial malleolus. It articulates through the talus within the fishing eye joint. The anterior surface ar is smooth and also covered by the tendons of the extensor foot muscles. Its lower margin functions a unstable depression for the attachments of the articular capsule the the fish eye joint.

For more anatomical details around the tibia, take it a look at the examine unit listed below:

Two major joint in which the tibia takes part are the knee joint and the ankle joint. The tibia additionally has added articulations v the fibula whereby it is anchored come the fibula by the superior, middle, and also inferior tibiofibular joints.

The knee joint is definitely something that deserves unique attention. Its articular surfaces room the remarkable surfaces that lateral and also medial condyles that the tibia, and the worse surfaces of the lateral and medial condyles that the femur. In ~ the distal end of the tibia is another major joint: the fishing eye joint. Here, the talus of the foot articulates with the distal end of the tibia and fibula.

The tibia likewise has three articulations through the fibula. The superior/proximal tibiofibular joint is whereby the proximal end of tibia articulates v the head that the fibula. The articulation website on the tibia is uncovered on the lateral next of that is proximal part, when the fibula participates v the medial surface of its head. This joint is reinforced by the anterior and also posterior ligaments of fibular head.

The middle tibiofibular joint is the interosseous membrane which spans in between the shafts of the tibia and fibula, attaching to the interosseous spare part of every bone. It is a paper of fibrous organization that joins the tibia and fibula in the tibiofibular syndesmosis.

The inferior/distal tibiofibular joint is formed by the fibular notch the the distal finish of the tibia and also triangular area that the distal finish of the fibula. This articulation surfaces space anchored by expansions of the premium interosseous membrane, when the entire joint is sustained by the anterior and posterior tibiofibular ligaments. All 3 of the tibiofibular joints sign up with the 2 leg skeleton together.

Muscle attachments

The tibia is the site of attachment for plenty of leg muscles. About speaking, the lateral surface of the tibia gives attachment sites because that the muscles of the anterior compartment that the leg, when the posterior surface provides attachment sites because that the muscles of the posterior leg compartment. The muscles of the lateral foot compartment attach to the fibula.

Muscles the insert onto the tibia room the: sartorius, gracilis, quadriceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and popliteus muscles.

Muscles that insert onto the tibia
Sartorius and also gracilisMedial surface ar of proximal tibia (via pes anserinus)
Quadriceps femorisTibial tuberosity (via patellar ligament)
SemimembranosusMedial condyle that tibia
SemitendinosusProximal finish of tibia below medial condyle of tibia (via pes anserinus)
PopliteusPosterior surface of proximal tibia

Muscles that originate from the tibia are the: tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus, soleus, tibialis posterior, and flexor digitorum longus muscles.

Muscle that originate native the tibia
Tibialis anteriorLateral surface ar of tibia, Interosseous membrane
Extensor digitorum longusProximal fifty percent of medial surface ar of fibula, Lateral tibial condyle
SoleusSoleal line, Head the fibula, Posterior border of fibula
Tibialis posteriorPosterior surface of tibia, Posterior surface ar of fibula, Interosseous membrane
Flexor digitorum longusPosterior surface of tibia

Clinical notes


The tibia is the most fractured long bone in humans. Its most vulnerable component is the tibial shaft and it normally takes a strong force to rest this bone. This generally happens in automobile crashes and when falling indigenous heights–since these space the most common traumatic injuries the tibia is the most fractured long bone. Various factors determine what sort of fracture will certainly occur, but the many common species are:

Transverse fracture - the fracture line is horizontal with the shaftOblique fracture - the fracture line is angled with the shaftSpiral fracture - the fracture heat is spiral resulting from twisting the the boneComminuted fracture - the bone is damaged into 3 or much more piecesOpen fracture - the broken parts the bone pass through the surrounding skin and also communicate with the environment (high risk of infections)

The symptoms that follow a tibial fracture include sharp and disabling pain as soon as the bone is broken followed through an inability to walk or move the limb because the tibia can no longer carry out its function of bearing body weight. Depending upon the kind of fracture, the reduced limb can seem deformed or bone pieces can permeate the skin.

Fractures are conveniently seen on one X-ray the the influenced leg. Usual recovery procedures include immobilization of the limb by a casket or brace. Severe instances can undergo surgical treatment in which intramedullary titanium nails (a steel nail the is put right into the medullary cavity that the bone) are offered for placing the parts of the broken bone back in position. Tibial fractures will generally heal within 4 to six months after treatment, even if it is it is through immobilization that the influenced limb or by surgery.



Drake, R. L., Vogl, A. W., & Mitchell, A. W. M. (2015). Gray’s Anatomy because that Students (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone.Moore, K. L., Dalley, A. F., & Agur, A. M. R. (2014). Clinically Oriented Anatomy (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Landmarks the the tibia labeled - Liene ZnotinaMuscles that the tibia and fibula (overview) - Liene Znotina

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