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Not to be confused with Apophysis. Epiphysis_sentence_0

This article is about the rounded end of a bone. Epiphysis_sentence_1

For information on the endocrine gland also referred to as epiphysis, see pineal gland. Epiphysis_sentence_2


PronunciationEpiphysis_header_cell_0_2_0 /ɛˈpɪfɪsɪs/Epiphysis_cell_0_2_1
Part ofEpiphysis_header_cell_0_3_0 Long bonesEpiphysis_cell_0_3_1
MeSHEpiphysis_header_cell_0_5_0 Epiphysis_cell_0_5_1
TA98Epiphysis_header_cell_0_6_0 Epiphysis_cell_0_6_1
TA2Epiphysis_header_cell_0_7_0 Epiphysis_cell_0_7_1
FMAEpiphysis_header_cell_0_8_0 Epiphysis_cell_0_8_1

The epiphysis is the rounded end of a long bone, at its joint with adjacent bone(s). Epiphysis_sentence_3

Between the epiphysis and diaphysis (the long midsection of the long bone) lies the metaphysis, including the epiphyseal plate (growth plate). Epiphysis_sentence_4

At the joint, the epiphysis is covered with articular cartilage; below that covering is a zone similar to the epiphyseal plate, known as bone. Epiphysis_sentence_5

The epiphysis is filled with red bone marrow, which produces erythrocytes (red blood cells). Epiphysis_sentence_6

Structure Epiphysis_section_0

There are four types of epiphysis: Epiphysis_sentence_7


  1. Pressure epiphysis: The region of the long bone that forms the joint is a pressure epiphysis (e.g. the head of the femur, part of the hip joint complex). Pressure epiphyses assist in transmitting the weight of the human body and are the regions of the bone that are under pressure during movement or locomotion. Another example of a pressure epiphysis is the head of the humerus which is part of the shoulder complex. condyles of femur and tibia also comes under the pressure epiphysis.Epiphysis_item_0_0
  2. Traction epiphysis: The regions of the long bone which are non-articular, i.e. not involved in joint formation. Unlike pressure epiphyses, these regions do not assist in weight transmission. However, their proximity to the pressure epiphysis region means that the supporting ligaments and tendons attach to these areas of the bone. Traction epiphyses ossify later than pressure epiphyses. Examples of traction epiphyses are tubercles of the humerus (greater tubercle and lesser tubercle), and trochanters of the femur (greater and lesser).Epiphysis_item_0_1
  3. Atavistic epiphysis: A bone that is independent phylogenetically but is now fused with another bone. These types of fused bones are called atavistic, e.g., the coracoid process of the scapula, which has been fused in humans, but is separate in four-legged animals. ostrigonum (posterior tubercle of talus ) is another example for atavistic epiphysis.Epiphysis_item_0_2
  4. Aberrant epiphysis: These epiphyses are deviations from the norm and are not always present. For example, the epiphysis at the head of the first metacarpal bone and at the base of other metacarpal bonesEpiphysis_item_0_3

Bones with an epiphysis Epiphysis_section_1

There are many bones that contain an epiphysis: Epiphysis_sentence_8


  1. Humerus: Located between the shoulder and the elbow.Epiphysis_item_1_4
  2. Radius: One of two bones located between the hand and the elbow. In anatomical position, the radius is lateral to the ulna.Epiphysis_item_1_5
  3. Ulna: One of two bones located between the hand and the elbow. In anatomical position, the ulna is medial to the radius.Epiphysis_item_1_6
  4. Metacarpal: Bones of the hand. They are proximal to the phalanges of the hand.Epiphysis_item_1_7
  5. Phalanges: Bones of the fingers and toes. They are distal to the metacarpals in the hand and metatarsals in the foot.Epiphysis_item_1_8
  6. Femur: Longest bone in the human body. Located in the thigh region, between the hip and the knee.Epiphysis_item_1_9
  7. Fibula: One of two bones in the lower leg. It is lateral to the tibia and smaller.Epiphysis_item_1_10
  8. Tibia: One of two bones in the lower leg. It is medial to the fibula and does most of the weight bearing.Epiphysis_item_1_11
  9. Metatarsal: Bones of the foot. Proximal to the medial cuneiform on the first metatarsal, and proximal to the phalanges for the other four.Epiphysis_item_1_12

Pseudo-epiphysis Epiphysis_section_2

A pseudo-epiphysis is an epiphysis-looking end of a bone where an epiphysis is not normally located. Epiphysis_sentence_9

A pseudo-epiphysis is delineated by a transverse notch, looking similar to a growth plate. Epiphysis_sentence_10

However, these transverse notches lack the typical cell columns found in normal growth plates, and do not contribute significantly to longitudinal bone growth. Epiphysis_sentence_11

Pseudo-epiphyses are found at the distal end of the first metacarpal bone in 80% of the normal population, and at the proximal end of the second metacarpal in 60%. Epiphysis_sentence_12

Clinical significance Epiphysis_section_3

Pathologies of the epiphysis include avascular necrosis and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). Epiphysis_sentence_13

OCD involves the subchondral bone. Epiphysis_sentence_14

Epiphyseal lesions include chondroblastoma and giant-cell tumor. Epiphysis_sentence_15

Additional images Epiphysis_section_4


  • Epiphysis_item_2_13
  • Epiphysis_item_2_14

See also Epiphysis_section_5


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphysis.