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Word Count: 542
Leg in anatomy one of the paired limbs of a vertebrate used chiefly for supporting the body and for locomotion The term leg is sometimes applied to one of the paired appendages of an insect spider or other arthropod In humans the leg extends from the hipbone to the foot The upper part of the human leg the thigh is supported by the femur-the longest and strongest bone of the body The upper end of the femur is rounded and fits into a cavity in the hip bone forming a ball-and-socket joint Ball-and-socket joints permit circular motion and the hip joint allows the leg to move freely in almost any direction This joint also helps distribute body weight evenly over the head of the femur At the knee the femur connects to the tibia or shinbone to form a hinge joint Hinge joints permit back-and-forth movement similar to the motion of a hinged door This joint is protected in front by a small triangular bone called the patella or kneecap which lies in the tendon covering the joint The tibia is one of the two long bones of the lower leg It forms the front of the leg while the fibula which is somewhat smaller forms the side of the leg The upper end of the fibula joins the tibia just below the knee joint The tibia and fibula connect to the talus or anklebone at the ankle joint which is a hinged joint The gluteus maximus is a large wide muscle that covers the back of the hip joint and comprises the buttocks It extends and rotates the leg and is one of four major muscles of the thigh The other major thigh muscles are the sartorius the quadriceps and the hamstring The sartorius the longest muscle in the body runs from the hipbone diagonally across the front of the thigh to the inside of the knee and bends the leg
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