The medial femoral condyles are the bony protrusions on the inside edge of the bottom of the femur bone in each thigh. Palpable as a hard, rounded bump to the inside of either knee joint, they are one of two condyles at the bottom of each leg bone, the other being the lateral femoral condyle. Condyles are familiar as the pair of rounded bony prominences found at the end of a long bone in the medial head of the gastrocnemius, which is the large muscle of the calf, and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) of the knee joint.
Each of the medial femoral condyles is situated at what is known as the distal end of the femur, or the end near the knee, as opposed to the proximal end, or the end near the hip. At this end, the medial femoral condyle is responsible for bearing much of the body’s weight on the knee joint.
The medial femoral condyles are also distinguished by another anatomical term of location. Medial in anatomy means toward the midline of the body, as opposed to lateral, or toward the sides of the body. As such, the vertical ligament found along the inside of the knee that attaches to this bony protrusion of the femur is known as the medial collateral ligament (MCL), while that along the outside of the knee is known as the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). Also referred to as the tibial collateral ligament for its attachment at its other end to the tibia bone, the MCL connects at its proximal end to the medial condyle, specifically to an elevated surface on the upper aspect of the medial condyle known as the medial epicondyle of the femur. This ligament helps to stabilize the knee joint against forces that push the joint inward.
Also originating on the medial femoral condyles is the gastrocnemius. A large, two-headed muscle of the back of the leg, or calf, the medial head arises from the medial condyle while the lateral head arises from the lateral condyle. Though this muscle essentially crosses the knee joint, it is not a major muscle of the knee but rather of the ankle, where it is responsible for the action of hinging the foot downward as in pointing the toes.