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Linea aspera

Bone: Linea aspera
Right femur. Posterior surface. (Linea aspera not labeled, but region is visible. Medial lip is at left; lateral lip is at right.)
Latin linea aspera
Gray's subject #59 246
Dorlands/Elsevier l_10/12496065

The linea aspera is a ridge of roughened surface on the posterior aspect of the femur, to which are attached muscles and intermuscular septa.

Its margins diverge above and below.

The linea aspera is a prominent longitudinal ridge or crest, on the middle third of the bone, presenting a medial and a lateral lip, and a narrow rough, intermediate line. It is an important insertion point for the adductors and the intermuscular septa that divides the thigh into three compartments. The tension generated by muscle attached to the bones is responsible for the formation of the ridges.




Above, the linea aspera is prolonged by three ridges.

  • The lateral ridge is very rough, and runs almost vertically upward to the base of the greater trochanter. It is termed the gluteal tuberosity, and gives attachment to part of the Glutæus maximus: its upper part is often elongated into a roughened crest, on which a more or less well-marked, rounded tubercle, the third trochanter, is occasionally developed.
  • The intermediate ridge or pectineal line is continued to the base of the lesser trochanter and gives attachment to the Pectineus;
  • the medial ridge is lost in the intertrochanteric line; between the intermediate and medial ridges a portion of the Iliacus is inserted.


Below, the linea aspera is prolonged into two ridges, enclosing between them a triangular area, the popliteal surface, upon which the popliteal artery rests.

  • Of these two ridges, the lateral is the more prominent, and descends to the summit of the lateral condyle.
  • The medial is less marked, especially at its upper part, where it is crossed by the femoral artery. It ends below at the summit of the medial condyle, in a small tubercle, the adductor tubercle, which affords insertion to the tendon of the Adductor magnus.


  • From the medial lip of the linea aspera and its prolongations above and below, the Vastus medialis arises.
  • From the lateral lip and its upward prolongation, the Vastus lateralis takes origin.
  • The Adductor magnus is inserted into the linea aspera, and to its lateral prolongation above, and its medial prolongation below.
  • Between the Vastus lateralis and the Adductor magnus two muscles are attached:
  • Between the Adductor magnus and the Vastus medialis four muscles are inserted:
    • the Iliacus and Pectineus above;
    • the Adductor brevis and Adductor longus below.

The linea aspera is perforated a little below its center by the nutrient canal, which is directed obliquely upward.

Additional images

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Linea_aspera". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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