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Long bones

Long bones are hard, dense bones that provide strength, structure, and mobility. The thigh bone (femur) is a long bone. A long bone has a shaft and two ends.

Some bones in the fingers are classified as long bones, even though they are short in length. This is due to the shape of the bones, not their size.

Long bones contain yellow bone marrow and red bone marrow, which produce blood cells.

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Review Date: 7/19/2021

Reviewed By

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

References

Silverstein JA, Moeller JL, Hutchinson MR. Common issues in orthopedics. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 30.

Standring S. Functional anatomy of the musculoskeletal system. In: Standring S, ed. Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. 42nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 5.

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Long bones

A long bone is a bone that has a shaft and 2 ends and is longer than it is wide. Long bones have a thick outside layer of compact bone and an inner medullary cavity containing bone marrow. The ends of a long bone contain spongy bone and an epiphyseal line. The epiphyseal line is a remnant of an area that contained hyaline cartilage that grew during childhood to lengthen the bone. All of the bones in the arms and legs, except the patella, and bones of the wrist, and ankle, are long bones.

Illustration

Long bones - Illustration Thumbnail

Long bones

A long bone is a bone that has a shaft and 2 ends and is longer than it is wide. Long bones have a thick outside layer of compact bone and an inner medullary cavity containing bone marrow. The ends of a long bone contain spongy bone and an epiphyseal line. The epiphyseal line is a remnant of an area that contained hyaline cartilage that grew during childhood to lengthen the bone. All of the bones in the arms and legs, except the patella, and bones of the wrist, and ankle, are long bones.

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