Author: Molly blacksmith DipCNM, mBANT•Reviewer: Dimitrios Mytilinaios MD, PhDLast reviewed: September 30, 2021Reading time: 8 minutes


Bone markings are projections and depressions found on bones, which aid us to recognize the location of other body structures, such together muscles.Their prestige comes once we shot to describe the form of the bone or come understand exactly how the muscles, ligaments and also other structures affect this bone and also vice versa.

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This article will comment on their anatomy, including the two large categories that bony landmarks, your subtypes, features and also examples.

Bone markings
components of a bone Head (epiphysis) Neck (metaphysis) body (diaphysis) Articular surface ar
Projections and parts Condyle Epiconcyle procedure Protuberance Tubercle vs tuberosity Trochanter Spine Linea (line) side Crests and ridges
Openings and depressions Foramen and also fissure Meatus Fossa and also fovea Incisure and also sulcus Sinus

Projections and parts Depressions and openings
+ show all

Parts of a bone

Understanding the an easy composition and structure the a bone is important, as it provides a reference point when relenten the location of bony landmarks.

Long bones room composed that four distinctive parts: a head (epiphysis), a neck (metaphysis), a body (diaphysis), and also an articular surface.

The head, or epiphysis (epi- meaning "upon") of a bone describes the rounded portion found at either end of the bone. The neck, or metaphysis (meta- an interpretation "after", or "subsequent to") is the widest component of a long bone. The body, or diaphysis (dia- meaning "through" or "throughout") describes the central shaft running in between the proximal and distal end of the bone.The articular surface ar (can be more than one) is the area the the bone the comes in nearby proximity with the adjoining bones. 

Memorizing the prefix the each component of the bone will aid you to avoid confusing them. Simply remember the the diaphysis extend throughout the main length the the bone, v the metaphysis following after, resulting in the epiphysis upon either end.

have you already learned the number of bones in the body and their names? usage these skeletal device diagrams and also quizzes to learn fast and effectively.

Projections and parts

locations of bone the project over the bone surface deserve to be globally referred to together projections. They room attachment points because that tendons and also ligaments, v their shape and size being indicative of the pressure exerted through the attachments to the bone. Below, we check out the different species of bony projections in ~ this category.



Condyles are rounded knobs that form articulations with other bones. Lock often provide structural support to the articular surface, help to absorb the force exerted at the joint. The lateral condyle of the femur is one example, which is easily palpable in ~ the knee.


Epicondyle is a bony area top top or over a condyle. That serves mostly as one area for a muscle or ligament attachment. Example: medial epicondyle of humerus.


A procedure is a bulging bony outgrowth the a bigger bone. An instance is the mastoid process, i beg your pardon is quickly palpable indigenous behind the ear, and also to which plenty of head muscles space attached.


Protuberances, comparable to processes, room swelling, bulging or protruding parts of bone. The external occipital protuberance is one example. Jutting out from the midline of the exterior surface, the is palpable native the ago of the head.

Tubercle vs tuberosity


Tubercles and tuberosities space subtly different structures i beg your pardon are often confused.

A tubercle is a little rounded prominence, often a site of tendon or ligament attachments e.g. adductor tubercle the the femur. A tuberosity is larger, found in differing shapes and often rough in texture.

The ulnar tuberosity is one example. Both tubercles and tuberosities space often uncovered close to sites of tendon or ligament attachment.


This landmark is current only in the femur and also it describes a very large, blunt, irregularly shaped process of the femur that serves together an attachment allude for muscles and ligaments. ~ above the femur there is a greater trochanter and a less prominent lesser trochanter.


The spine (or spinous process) is a sharp, slender forecast of the bone i m sorry is useful for attachment of muscle or ligaments. Example: spine that the sphenoid bone.

Linea (line)

The hatchet linea describes a subtle, long, and narrow impression i m sorry distinguishes chin in elevation, shade or texture from neighboring tissues. The linea aspera that the femur is one example. Found on the posterior surface, it consists of medial and lateral lips diverging in ~ its superior and inferior ends.


The facet is a level smooth area of the bone i m sorry serves as an articular surface. Example: acromial page of clavicle.

Crests and also ridges

Crests deserve to be described as prominent, elevated edges of a bone. They are of medium thickness and also often discovered at sites wherein connective tissue connects muscle and also bone. The iliac crest is one example. Uncovered inferior come the quadratus lumborum, for which it serves as the beginning point, it is palpable along its entire length, and is thicker in ~ the extremities 보다 the center.

Ridges are straight elevations, margins or borders. The lateral supracondylar ridge that the humerus is one example, where we an alert a slim projection compared to the neighboring bone.

Depressions and openings

outside of projections, several bone markings fall into the group of depressions and also openings. Bony landmarks in this category form basins, channels and holes that residence nerves, vessels, tendons and also muscles. Below, we check out some examples.


Foramen and also fissure

Foramina (sing: foramen) space holes or openings in a bone, usually through which nerves and blood vessels pass. The jugular foramen is one example through i beg your pardon the inferior petrosal sinus, sigmoid sinus, glossopharyngeal, vagus and also accessory nerves pass.

Fissures are open up slits, grooves or depressions in a bone, regularly housing nerves and also blood vessels. An instance is the inferior orbital fissure. Separating the floor from the lateral wall, it gives passage come structures prefer the zygomatic nerve and orbital branches of the pterygopalatine ganglion.


A meatus is a short, tube-like channel extending into the bone. The can administer passage and protection to nerves and vessels. An example is the external acoustic meatus, additionally known together the ear canal, i m sorry connects the middle and outer ear.


Fossa and fovea

A fossa is a depression in the bone surface ar which is often large and shallow. It may support brain structures, or receive another articulating bone. The temporal fossa is one example. It is among the largest landmarks on the skull, serving as an beginning site because that the temporal muscle.

Fovea describes a pit or depression - comparable to a fossa, yet generally much smaller. An instance is the fovea capitis, found in the center of the head of the femur.

Notch and also sulcus

Notches (or incisures) have the right to be defined as indentations in ~ the edge of a structure, prefer a cleft. The scapular notch, which creates a deep, distinctive depression follow me the superolateral border of the scapula, is one example.

A sulcus is a furrow or fissure usually specific to the surface of the brain, but likewise in bones and also other organs. As soon as referring to bones, sulci are really often referred to as grooves. Grooves regularly trace the length of nerves or vessels, providing an are to prevent compression from neighboring muscles or exterior forces. An instance is the groove for the transverse sinus.


A sinus is a cavity or hole space. The paranasal sinuses, a group of four paired, bilateral sinuses in the sleep cavity, space a remarkable example.



T. D. White, P. A. Folkens: The human being Bone Manual, academic Press (2005)C. Cael: useful Anatomy: Musculoskeletal Anatomy, Kinesiology, and also Palpation for hand-operated Therapists, Jones & Bartlett discovering (2011)

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