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Tibia and Fibula Anatomy with Labeled Diagram

Amanda Thomas Headshot
By Amanda Thomas | Published June 7th, 2024
Published June 7th, 2024 Medically Reviewed by: Angela Slater FNP, RN
Medically Reviewed by:
Angela Slater FNP, RN
A nurse holding an anatomical model of the tibia and fibula

Remember the song lyrics, “The leg bone connected to the knee bone, the knee bone connected to the thigh bone?”

Well, in nursing school, you need to know more than just the basic anatomy. That’s why we’re here to help you improve your knowledge of the tibia and fibula bones located in the lower leg.

In this article, we’ll discuss these bones in more detail and provide a helpful tibia and fibula labeled diagram for visual reference.

Jump to Section

  1. What is the Tibia and Fibula?
  2. The Anatomy of the Tibia and Fibula
  3. An Overview of Lower Leg Anatomy
  4. What is the Interosseous Membrane?
  5. The Anatomy of the Tibia
  6. The Anatomy of the Fibula

What is the Tibia and Fibula?

The tibia and fibula are the two bones in your lower leg, also known as the shin bone (tibia) and the calf bone (fibula). The tibia is the larger of the two bones and on the inside of the lower leg, while the fibula is on the outside.

Check out this simple tibia and fibula labeled image to see the difference.

Tibia and Fibula Labeled

Tibia and Fibula Anatomy 

Understanding the anatomy of the tibia and fibula is fundamental for nursing students, as it forms the basis for assessing lower limb injuries, fractures, and related medical conditions. It will also reinforce why you need to wear shin guards if you play soccer…

This knowledge is vital in clinical settings, where accurate assessment and identification of lower limb issues are essential for optimal client care.

An Overview of Lower Leg Anatomy

The lower leg consists of two primary bones: the tibia and fibula.

The tibia, or shinbone, is the larger and stronger of the two, positioned medially. It’s primarily responsible for bearing weight. 

The fibula, located laterally, is thinner and supports muscle attachment without significantly contributing to weight-bearing activity. The tibia and fibula labeled diagram below provides a visual representation of their positions within the lower leg.

Detailed diagram of the tibia and fibula labeled

Study tip: Use the mnemonic “Never tell a little fib” to remember that the fibula is smaller. You can also use the “L” in “little” to remember that the fibula is on the lateral side of the tibia.

What is the Interosseous Membrane?

The interosseous membrane is a thin, flexible sheet of connective tissue that connects the tibia and fibula.

This membrane provides stability, helping distribute weight and forces between the two bones evenly.

Study tip: An easy way to remember this is to look at the prefix “inter-,” which means “between,” and the suffix “-osseous,” which refers to the bone. So, the interosseous membrane between the two bones.

The Anatomy of the Tibia

Tibia bone

The tibia is the second largest bone in the human body and significantly affects lower limb movement and function.

It consists of three main sections: the proximal (upper), diaphysis (shaft), and distal (lower) portions. 

The tibia’s proximal end articulates with the femur to form the knee joint. The distal end articulates with the talus bone in the ankle joint.

The diaphysis, or shaft, is cylindrical and has three surfaces: medial, lateral, and posterior. It also contains a nutrient foramen, which allows blood vessels to enter the bone and supply it with nutrients.

Here’s a breakdown of the different parts of the tibia:

Anterior crest: a sharp ridge located on the tibia’s anterior (front) surface

Articular surface of the tibia: the smooth surface of the proximal end that articulates with the femur 

Fibular notch: a small concave surface on the lateral side of the tibia that forms part of the ankle joint      

Medial and lateral condyle: forms the inner and outer parts of the knee joint

Articular surface of medial and lateral condyles: smooth surfaces that help with movement in the knee joint       

Intercondylar eminence: a ridge located between the two condyles, which helps stabilize the knee joint

Medial and lateral malleolus: forms the inner and outer parts of the ankle joint, providing stability

Tibial tuberosity: a bony protrusion located on the anterior surface that serves as a point of attachment for muscles and ligaments

The Anatomy of the Fibula

Fibula bone

The fibula is a thin, long bone that plays a minor role in weight-bearing but serves essential functions in muscle attachment and stability of the ankle joint. It’s located on the lateral side of the lower leg and runs parallel to the tibia.

Like the tibia, the fibula has a proximal and a distal end, with a shaft in between.

Here are some key features of each part:

  • Proximal end: The proximal or upper end of the fibula is also known as the head. It’s circular and articulates with the lateral condyle of the tibia to form part of the knee joint. This joint allows for rotation and gliding movements.
  • Shaft: The shaft of the fibula is long and slender, with a slight curve. It provides attachment points for muscles involved in ankle and foot movements.
  • Distal end: The lateral malleolus is the fibula’s distal or lower end. It forms a bony protrusion on

the ankle joint’s outer side and helps stabilize it. The lateral malleolus also provides attachment points for ligaments connecting the fibula to the talus and calcaneus bones of the foot.

Make learning easier with SimpleNursing

At SimpleNursing, we understand that learning about anatomy can be overwhelming.

That’s why we offer a variety of resources to make it easier to master this and other nursing topics.

Here are some benefits of using SimpleNursing:

  • Simplified content: Our team of experienced nurses breaks down complex concepts into digestible chunks.
  • Interactive platform: We offer engaging videos, quizzes, and flashcards to help solidify understanding and test knowledge.
  • Flexible learning: Our platform is accessible 24/7, so you can study at your own pace and schedule.

Sign up for a free trial today and take the next step towards becoming a confident, knowledgeable nurse!

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Amanda Thomas Headshot

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Communications, University of Alabama

Amanda Thomas has over eight years of experience in the healthcare sector as a content writer, copywriter, and grant writer. She has worked with various medical organizations, including hospitals, mental health facilities, and nonprofits. Through her work, she has gained extensive knowledge about the healthcare industry and the role of written communication in improving client care. She’s particularly passionate about promoting mental health awareness. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Alabama with a major in Journalism and minors in Creative Writing and English.