The extensions of thighs are from pelvis to knee. Not only toned thighs add to great aesthetic value, it is one of the major parts of our body as whole body weight is supported by thigh during walking, running and any kind of other lower body movements. Thigh structures include only one bone that is femur, muscles of thighs that are divided into three compartments, fascia, blood vessels, nerve & lymphatics. These thigh structures must be strong enough to cope up with the heavy workload.
The bone of thigh:
Thigh structures are arranged around a bone named femur. It is one of the strongest bones in our body. Femur acts as axis for the muscular compartments. This bone forms ball & socket type of joint with the hipbone, and knee joint with tibia and patella. A femur has head, neck, greater and lesser trochanter on its upper part and condyles on its lower parts. There is an intervening shaft in between the upper and lower parts.
Except for the femur, all the other structures can be categorized in the soft tissue segment. It includes skin, superficial fascia containing fat, lymphatics, arteries and veins.
The skin of thigh is quite thick and tough comparatively than the other portions of our body as it guards quite a lot of tough structures underneath.
The superficial fascia of the thigh is the structure that holds the fat beneath the skin and muscles together. This part contains all the fat we want so much to get rid of along with blood vessels and lymphatics. The fat layers in 3 different parts with connective tissue in middle. The outermost layer has standing fat-cell chambers, the middle zone has squat fat chambers and there is the lower zone of subcutis, each having running septa to divide them. The flabby portion of big thighs is mainly made up of the fat layers that are accumulated beneath the skin.
The thigh muscles are grouped into three parts that are separated by septa. These muscles act in locomotion and stabilization during standing. They also provide power during kicking and squatting.
The compartments are anterior, medial and posterior. Each compartment has different muscles with their different blood and nerve supply.
There are six muscles present in anterior compartment of thigh. Namely, they are pectineus, sartorius and quadriceps femoris. In the name of quadriceps femoris there are actually four separate muscles present. They are-
· Rectus femoris
· Vastus medialis
· Vastus intermedius
· Vastus lateralis
Anterior compartment flex the hip joint and extend the knee joint. On the other hand, sartorius is responsible for the flexion of both the hip and knee joint & quadriceps for extension of the knee joint.
Medial compartment includes five muscles in the thigh structures that are supplied by obturator artery and obturator nerve. They are responsible for inward movement of thigh towards the opposite side. Adductor muscles in combined also do some rotation of thigh. The muscles here are:
· Adductor longus
· Adductor brevis
· Adductor magnus
· Obturator externus
These muscles are called hamstring muscles. Member of hamstrings are Biceps femoris, Semimembranous & Semitendinous. They are supplied by perforating branches of profunda femoris artery and Sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve is the longest nerve of lower limb.
This compartment extends the thigh and flexes the legs.
The better understanding of the thigh structure will help making an ideal decision and act accordingly. The sloppy part of thigh is usually made up of the fat. However, there is a popular misconception that whenever the thigh size is bigger, it is due to excess fat accumulation, where the main bulk is probably sculptured by muscles. The difference can be estimated by measuring skin fold thickness (which will be increased if there is more fat storage) and by judging the power of thighs (which will be greater when the muscle bulk is more). When toning thighs this needs to be remembered that only the fat portion should be carefully reduced without decreasing the muscle bulk as it will only make weaker thighs that would not look very toned and attractive.