Gerdy’s tubercle or tuberculum gerdy in Latin is a smooth triangular shaped facet present in the proximal end of the tibia. It is located on the anterolateral surface of the lateral condyle, below the joint line (the articulation between femur and tibia), lateral to the tibial tuberosity. It serves as the distal attachment for the iliotibial tract. It is named after the 19th century French surgeon, Pierre Nicolas Gerdy.
The iliotibial tract is a strong band formed by the thickening of the fibrous connective tissue of the fascia lata present on the flattened lateral surface of the thigh. The tract divides into two layers, superficial and deep. It both envelops and anchors the tensor fasciae latae, and receives the tendon of the gluteus maximus posteriorly. Its distal attachment forms a flat definite marking: Gerdy’s tubercle. Inflammation of the distal end causes pain and tenderness in Gerdy’s tubercle. This knee injury is common, and is referred to as ‘Iliotibial band syndrome’ (ITBS). The pain can extend to the hips when the proximal portion of the band is involved.
Gerdy’s tubercle has its clinical significance. Its palpation and identification is the mainstay for any knee approach. Surgeons view it as a critical landmark when dealing with distal femur and proximal tibia injuries.
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