Ligament of head of femur

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Ligament: Ligament of head of femur
Left hip-joint, opened by removing the floor of the acetabulum from within the pelvis (Ligament of head of femur labeled as ligt. teres at cente.)
Hip-joint, front view. The capsular ligament has been largely removed. (Ligam. teres visible at center.)
Latin Ligamentum capitis femoris, ligamentum teres femoris
Gray's p.336
From Femur head
To Acetabular notch

In human anatomy, the ligament of the head of the femur (Latin: ligamentum capitis femoris'), or the round ligament of the femur (Latin: ligamentum teres femoris'), commonly referred to as the ligamentum teres, is a triangular, somewhat flattened band implanted by its apex into the antero-superior part of the fovea capitis femoris; its base is attached by two bands, one into either side of the acetabular notch, and between these bony attachments it blends with the transverse ligament.[1]

It is ensheathed by the synovial membrane, and varies greatly in strength in different subjects; occasionally only the synovial fold exists, and in rare cases even this is absent.[1]

The ligament is made tense when the thigh is semiflexed and the limb then abducted or rotated outward; it is, on the other hand, relaxed when the limb is adducted.[1]

Research suggests it contributes little influence as a ligament past childhood,[2] although it may still be important in transmitting arterial supply to the head. The ligament gives the femur a stabilizing strength which, as in the orangutan, some animals lack.[3]

The ligament of the head of the femur contains within it the acetabular branch of medial circumflex femoral artery.

Evolutionary variation[edit]

In the orangutan, an Asian arboreal brachiator who uses all four limbs to move about, the head of the femur is completely spherical and the head-acetabulum ligament is absent, which allows for a greater range of motion. In African apes, such as bonobos, chimpanzees, and gorillas who move mainly by terrestrial knuckle-walking, this ligament is present.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Gray's Anatomy (1918), see infobox
  2. ^ Tan CK, Wong WC (August 1990). "Absence of the ligament of head of femur in the human hip joint". Singapore Medical Journal 31 (4): 360–3. PMID 2124003. 
  3. ^ Femur article, Encyclopædia Britannica.
  4. ^ Ishida, Hidemi (2006). "Current Thoughts on Terrestrialization in African Apes and the Origin of Human Bipedalism". In Ishida, Hidemi; Tuttle, Russell; Pickford, Martin; Ogihara, Naomichi; Nakatsukasa, Masato. Human Origins and Environmental Backgrounds. Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. pp. 259–66. doi:10.1007/0-387-29798-7_20. ISBN 9780387296388.