Several terms are used to refer to features and components of bones throughout the body:

Bone featureDefinition
articular processA projection that contacts an adjacent bone.
articulationThe region where adjacent bones contact each other — a joint.
canalA long, tunnel-like foramen, usually a passage for notable nerves or blood vessels.
condyleA large, rounded articular process.
crestA prominent ridge.
eminenceA relatively small projection or bump.
epicondyleA projection near to a condyle but not part of the joint.
facetA small, flattened articular surface.
foramenAn opening through a bone.
fossaA broad, shallow depressed area.
foveaA small pit on the head of a bone.
labyrinthA cavity within a bone.
lineA long, thin projection, often with a rough surface. Also known as a ridge.
malleolusOne of two specific protuberances of bones in the ankle.
meatusA short canal.
processA relatively large projection or prominent bump.(gen.)
ramusAn arm-like branch off the body of a bone.
sinusA cavity within a cranial bone.
spineA relatively long, thin projection or bump.
sutureArticulation between cranial bones.
trochanterOne of two specific tuberosities located on the femur.
tubercleA projection or bump with a roughened surface, generally smaller than a tuberosity.
tuberosityA projection or bump with a roughened surface.

Several terms are used to refer to specific features of long bones:

Bone featureDefinition
diaphysisThe long, relatively straight main body of a long bone; region of primary ossification. Also known as the shaft.
epiphysisThe end regions of a long bone; regions of secondary ossification.
epiphyseal plateAlso known as the growth plate or physis. In a long bone it is a thin disc of hyaline cartilage that is positioned transversely between the epiphysis and metaphysis. In the long bones of humans, the epiphyseal plate disappears by twenty years of age.
headThe proximal articular end of the bone.
metaphysisThe region of a long bone lying between the epiphysis and diaphysis.
neckThe region of bone between the head and the shaft.


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