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Layman Anatomy: Differences between upper limb and lower limb

Layman Anatomy: Differences between upper limb and lower limb - Lanre News

The human body consists of many structures, and the upper and lower limb is one of them.

Before we see the differences that exist between these two subjects, let’s first discover what a limb is and what it consists of.

What is a limb?

A limb, in anatomical terms, is a structure that allows you to move from one place to another. It enables you to make movements like walking, running, climbing, and swimming.

In humans, there are two types of limb – the upper limb (located in the upper part of the body), and the lower limb (located in the lower division of the body).

The upper limb, also called the upper extremity, consists of four parts.

They are; shoulder, arm (the part between the shoulder and the elbow), forearm (the part between the elbow and the wrist), and hand (this extends from the wrist to the tip of the finger).

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The lower limb also consists of four parts – the hip, thigh, leg, and foot.

Each part of the upper limb has a complementary structure in the lower limb. The arm, for instance, corresponds to the thigh in the lower limb; they occupy similar positions in the body, just like the hand and the foot.

Having known what the upper and lower limb is, let’s now consider their differences.

Differences between the upper and lower limb

  1. In the upper limb, the arm houses a bone called the humerus, while in the lower limb, its equivalent – the thigh, houses a long bone called the femur.
  2. In the upper limb, the bones of the forearm are the radius and ulna, while the bones of its corresponding structure – the leg, are the fibula and tibia.
  3. In the upper limb, the movement of the arm and the forearm are made possible by the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint allows you to make movements like swinging and rolling the upper limb. The lower limb has no shoulder joint, instead, there is a hip joint.
  4. Lastly, unlike the upper limb, the whole of the lower limb cannot be rotated 360 degrees.


Just as the eyes and the tongue are important, the upper limb is equally important, likewise the lower limb.

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