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William E. Prentice


When you finish this chapter you should be able to

  • Recognize the normal structural anatomy of the thigh.

  • Conduct an assessment of the injured thigh.

  • Correctly recognize the various injuries that can occur to the anatomical structures in the thigh.

  • Review the anatomy of the hip, groin, and pelvic region.

  • Accurately evaluate injuries that occur in or around the hip, groin, and pelvis.

  • Outline the etiology, symptoms and signs, and management procedures for the injuries that occur in the hip, groin, and pelvis.

  • Develop a generalized rehabilitation plan for dealing with injuries to the thigh, hip, groin, and pelvis.


In the athletic population, injuries to the thigh hip, groin, and pelvis have a relatively lower incidence of injury than in the foot, ankle, and knee. However, these injuries can result in complex and challenging injuries that often require a prolonged recovery period.30


The thigh is generally considered that part of the leg between the hip and the knee. Several important anatomical units must be considered in terms of their relationship to injury: the shaft of the femur, the musculature, the nerves and blood vessels, and the fascia that envelops the thigh.


The femur (Figure 21–1) is the longest and strongest bone in the body and is designed to permit maximum mobility and support during locomotion. The cylindrical shaft is bowed anterior and lateral to accommodate the stresses placed on it during bending of the hip and knee and during weight bearing. The proximal head of the femur articulates with the pelvis to form the hip joint, and the distal femoral condyles articulate with the tibia at the knee joint.


The femur. (A) Anterior view. (B) Posterior view.


The muscles of the thigh may be categorized according to their location: anterior, posterior, and medial (Table 21–1).

TABLE 21–1Muscles of the Thigh*

Anterior Thigh Muscles The anterior thigh muscles consist of the sartorius muscle and the quadriceps femoris group. The sartorius (Figure 21–2) is a narrow band that is superficial throughout its length. It stems from the anterosuperior iliac spine and crosses obliquely downward and medially across the anterior aspect of the thigh, where it attaches to the anteromedial aspect of the tibial ...

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