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RE: crural or sural? [HAPP-L]
In my anatomy class, I use the term "crural" to refer to the leg (that part
of the lower extremity between the knee and ankle). Some texts (e.g.,
Marieb) use this term to refer to JUST the anterior leg, whereas others (Van
De Graaf and Fox) use the term for both the anterior and posterior parts of
the leg. I have never heard the term used to describe the "thigh" region
Stedman's medical dictionary defines "sural" as "relating to the calf of the
leg". (in other words, the posterior part of the leg). The "sural" nerve
is found along the calf of the leg, so using the term 'sural" for posterior
leg would make sense.
I *think* you can use "crural" in a general sense (meaning, referring to the
leg, that part of the lower limb from the knee to ankle), whereas the term
"sural" should be restricted to the posterior part of the leg.
Does anyone else have any comments on this matter?
Valerie Dean O'Loughlin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Director of Undergraduate Human Anatomy
Bloomington, IN 47405
(812) 855-4436 (fax)
From: John Anderson [mailto:JANDERSO@midstate.tec.wi.us]
Sent: Friday, September 01, 2000 3:39 PM
To: 'HAPS mailing list'
Subject: crural or sural? [HAPP-L]
At the beginning of my Intro. to A&P course I have students label various
surface regions as part of an exercise to introduce them to the organization
of the body. I have always been a little uncertain as to the use of the
terms crural and sural but never took the time to figure out what I felt was
a relatively minor problem. This semester however my students have also
finally figured out there seems to be some confusion in the various texts
regarding the use of this term. So, I bring the problem to the list knowing
it will be quickly settled.
I use the Seeley, Stephens and Tate, Essentials of A&P text for my class.
On page 13 the anterior lower leg is labeled "leg (crural)." Martini's
Fundamentals of A&P 2nd edition does the same on page 11 and also labels the
posterior lower leg "calf (sural)." Tortora's Intro to the Human Body and
Stalheim-Smith and Fitch's Understanding Human A&P label their figures the
same way. However, Hole's Human A&P labels both the anterior and posterior
surfaces of the lower leg "crural (leg)." When I consult my dictionary
(Mosby's Medical, Nursing and Allied Health Dictionary) crural is defined as
"pertaining to the leg, particularly the upper leg or thigh" and sural isn't
So, does the word crural refer to the entire leg or just the thigh region?.
If just the thigh, why do all the figures point to the lower leg? Is sural
a legitimate term referring to the calf? And finally, if crural really
refers to the whole leg or just the thigh region, what is the term for the
anterior lower leg? Since every other square millimeter of skin surface has
a name there must be a technical term for the shin.
John - confused in Wisconsin
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