Condyle: (kòn´ dil) A term applied to bones, condyle comes from the Greek kondylos, meaning "a knuckle." It is a rounded process on a bone that usually serves to articulate with another bone.1

The adjective form is condylar. Some examples of condyles are given below.

  • Occipital Condyle: Rounded oval facets on each side of the inferior occipital bone of the skull, adjacent to the foramen magnum. These condyles are kidney-shaped and articulate with the superior articular facet of the atlas vertebra.

There is a roughened edge on the medial part of each one that serves to attach the alar ligament. The image below shows an inferior view of the skull, with the occipital bone exposed and the occipital condyle labelled:

labelled image of occipital condyle of occipital bone of skull

Occipital Condyle
image by Anatomist90 via wikimedia

  • Mandibular Condyle: The rounded process of the posterior part of the end of each ramus of the mandible (lower jaw bone) which articulates with the mandibular fossae of the temporal bones.

labelled image mandibular condyle of lower jaw (mandible)

Mandibular Condyle
image by Dakevia wikimedia

The condyles of bones are not always named thus. For instance, the condyles of the distal humerus bone, where it articulates with the elbow, are called the capitulum and the trochlea. It would also be permissible to call these humeral condyles. As well, other general terms might be used to refer to the same structures. The corresponding features on the femur, where it attaches to the tibia, are called the lateral and medial condyles.

When an ovoid condyle fits into an oval cavity of another bone to form a joint, it is called a condyloid joint, which is a type of diarthrotic joint.

This page created 17 Oct 2012 20:01
Last updated 18 Jul 2016 19:09

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