Linea aspera

The linea aspera (Latin: rough line) is a ridge of roughened surface on the posterior surface of the shaft of the femur, to which are attached muscles and intermuscular septum.

Linea aspera
Right femur. Posterior surface. (Linea aspera not labeled, but region is visible. Medial lip is at left; lateral lip is at right.)
Latinlinea aspera
Anatomical terms of bone

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 lateral and medial 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.


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


The tension generated by muscle attached to the bones is responsible for the formation of the ridges.


A number of muscles attach to the linea aspera:

  • From the medial lip of the linea aspera and its prolongations above and below, the vastus medialis originates.
  • 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:
    • the gluteus maximus inserted above,
    • and the short head of the biceps femoris originating below.
  • Between the adductor magnus and the vastus medialis four muscles are inserted:

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

Additional images


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 246 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

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