The long, short, irregular and flat of it all! (Bones classification by shape):

Long bones: relatively long, slender; found in the arms, legs, thighs, palms, soles, fingers and toes.

bulletarm =humerus, radius, ulna; leg = femur, tibia, fibula; fingers & toes = each phalanx (individual bone of a finger or toe) [all together, the phalanges]; palms of the hands = metacarpals; soles of feet = metatarsals

Short bones: somewhat cube-shaped; of nearly equal length and width.

bulletCarpals (bones of the wrist), tarsals (bones of the ankle)

Flat bones: thin, flat surfaces, no marrow cavity, but spongy bone sandwiched between an upper and lower layer of compact bone.

bulletsternum; ribs; scapula; clavical; and the bones that form the roof of the skull (parietal, frontal, temporal, occipital)

Irregular bones: complex shapes; notched, or with ridges; not easily classified into any other category.

bulletvertebrae; some facial bones (like the ethmoid or sphenoid); pelvic bones = ischium and pubis; calcaneus (heel bone); mandible

Sesamoid bones: develop in tendons where there is considerable pressure, tension or friction.

bulletpatella (knee cap) is best known, largest example—and the only one I would ask you about!


Click here for access to an Anatomy Review from the So. Cal. Orthopedic Institute