Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them] | Chapter 3 Names by which the Parts and Surfaces of Bones are Identified

Large bones are not the only ones with epiphyses

The vertebrae and the teeth of children, which also have epiphyses, not only show that bones without these cavities have epiphyses, but they also argue that Nature gave epiphyses not just to large bones, notwithstanding that the leading anatomists 29 declared the opposite, ascribing epiphyses only to the large bones. 30 Of the bones having such cavities, 31 the femur has four epiphyses (marked L in figure A, M in figure B): one at the head [caput femoris], where it is joined to the hip bone; one at its lower part [condylus medialis, condylus lateralis], where it is joined to the tibia; and two others at its two processes [trochanter major et minor], which we usually call the rotators.


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Epiphyses are attached to the tibia and the fibula at the knee and the foot. The radius also has them at the carpus and the humerus. The humerus has an epiphysis only above, where it faces the scapula; likewise the ulna, only at the carpus. 32 And these are large bones, on which Nature has bestowed large cavities [cavitas medullaris]. Small bones, which we have explained are also given this kind of cavity contrary to the view of Galen, 33 by no means lack an epiphysis: the metacarpal and metatarsal bones (O, O in the illustration of the foot) each put out a very obvious epiphysis [caput], where they enter the indentation [basis] at the joint [articulatio metatarsophalangeale] of the first bones of the digits. Also at the top, where these bones face the carpus and tarsus, they often do have an epiphysis, but it is always more tightly fused to the bone than at the lower end. Likewise, all the digital bones above and below are generally equipped with epiphyses [basis et caput], if you except the last [phalanx distalis] which have epiphyses only at the upper end. All of these are quite visible in young children. But in those who have already reached their full growth, the fusion of epiphyses is hard to see, while in the old it is entirely hidden and unseen. 34



Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them] | Chapter 3 Names by which the Parts and Surfaces of Bones are Identified