The Leg and Foot
The most prominent muscles giving the leg its distinctive shape are on the front of the thigh and the back of the calf.
The femur, or thigh-bone, is fitted into the pelvis at a ball-and-socket joint which offers free movement in a forward direction with some lateral and rotary articulation; backward movement is prevented by ligaments across the front of the joint. Slight backward movement of the thigh is made possible by the pelvis tilting.
The knee is a hinge joint allowing backward motion only, forward motion being prevented by strong hgaments across the back of the knee. The patella, or kneecap, is a small plate-shaped bone in front of the joint which serves to protect it and which also, by virtue of its position and the tendons that connect it to the other bones of the leg, increases the leverage of the thigh muscles.
The shape of the foot is best understood if you think of it as a piece of flexible load-bearing architecture, with an arch at the instep. Its skeletal structure consists of a number of small bones (12, excluding the toes), with cushions of cartilage between, so that the shocks of the considerable jolting the foot receives in walking and running can be absorbed.
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