Lesser Trochanter

The lesser trochanter is an important anatomical structure in the femur or thigh bone. It is situated on the upper inner side of the femur.  The lesser trochanter plays a significant role in the human body’s movement and stability. This article will discuss the lesser trochanters structure, function, common abnormalities and imaging techniques used.

Anatomy and Location of the Lesser Trochanter

The lesser trochanter is a small, pyramid-shaped bony prominence located on the femur’s upper inner part. The lesser trochanter forms part of the proximal femur, close to where the bone connects to the hip joint. Its position and attachment points make it an essential structure for muscle attachment and the overall functioning of the hip and leg.

Function of the Lesser Trochanter

Despite its relatively small size compared to other bony structures of the femur, the lesser trochanter plays a significant role in the musculoskeletal system. It’s the primary attachment point for the iliopsoas muscle, which includes the iliacus and psoas major muscles. These muscles work together to flex the hip joint and allow for various lower limb movements, such as walking, running, and bending.

Injuries Involving the Lesser Trochanter

Due to its important role in lower limb movement, the lesser trochanter can be susceptible to injury. Some common conditions affecting the lesser trochanter include:

1. **Avulsion Fractures**: These fractures occur when the iliopsoas muscle contracts forcibly, pulling away a fragment of bone. They are more common in adolescents involved in intense physical activities.

2. **Stress Fractures**: Repetitive activities can cause small cracks in the lesser trochanter, particularly in athletes or older adults with weaker bones.

3. **Trochanteric Bursitis**: Inflammation of the bursa near the trochanteric region can cause pain around the hip and may involve the lesser trochanter.

4. **Metastatic Lesions**: In rare cases, the lesser trochanter can be affected by metastatic cancerous lesions.

Imaging Techniques for the Lesser Trochanter

To diagnose injuries or conditions involving the lesser trochanter, healthcare professionals rely on a variety of imaging techniques. Some of the most common methods include:

1. **X-Rays**: Plain radiographs provide an initial view of the bone structure and help detect fractures or major abnormalities.

2. **Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)**: This technique offers detailed images of soft tissues and bones, making it easier to detect stress fractures, muscle injuries, or infections.

3. **Computed Tomography (CT)**: CT scans create cross-sectional images that allow for better visualization of complex fractures or tumor growth.

4. **Bone Scintigraphy**: Also known as a bone scan, this nuclear imaging test detects bone metabolism changes, often used in diagnosing stress fractures or metastatic lesions.

Treatment Approaches for Lesser Trochanter Injuries

Treatment for lesser trochanter injuries depends on the nature and severity of the condition. Here are some common approaches:

1. **Rest and Physical Therapy**: Mild avulsion fractures or bursitis can often be treated with rest and a guided physical therapy program that focuses on stretching and strengthening the hip muscles.

2. **Medication**: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help alleviate pain and inflammation in less severe cases.

3. **Surgery**: Severe fractures may require surgical intervention, particularly if the bone fragment is displaced. Surgery may also be necessary to remove or treat cancerous lesions.

4. **Lifestyle Modifications**: For individuals prone to stress fractures, incorporating lifestyle changes like cross-training or using supportive footwear can minimize the risk of future injuries.


The lesser trochanter is a small bony prominence on the upper femur.  Its role in lower limb movement makes it crucial for daily activities. Understanding the lesser trochanters anatomy, function, and injuries helps in early diagnosis and effective treatment. By combining imaging techniques with comprehensive treatment approaches, healthcare professionals can ensure proper care for injuries involving the lesser trochanter.

Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

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