Medical Definition of Trochanter

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Trochanter: One of the bony prominences toward the near end of the thighbone (the femur). There are two trochanters:

  • The greater trochanter - A powerful protrusion located at the proximal (near) and lateral (outside) part of the shaft of the femur. The greater trochanter is also called the major trochanter, the outer trochanter, and the lateral process of the femur.
  • The lesser trochanter - A pyramidal prominence that projects from the proximal (near) and medial (inside) part of the shaft of the femur. The lesser trochanter is also called the minor trochanter, the inner trochanter, and the medial process of the femur.

The trochanters are points at which hip and thigh muscles attach. The greater trochanter gives attachment to a number of muscles (including the gluteus medius and minimus, piriformis, obturator internus and externus, and gemelli muscles), and the lesser trochanter receives the insertion of several muscles (including the psoas major and iliacus muscles).

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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