Difference Between Condyle and Epicondyle

It is amazing when the importance of the small parts, mostly unrecognized things, of the living world is considered. Although condyle and epicondyle are not very small features of the skeleton of vertebrates, those are not much known for their importance, especially among common people. These important features of the vertebrates serve the body in many functions, and those are discussed below with the significant differences exhibited between them.


Condyle is a feature of a particular bone in the vertebrates; it is a smooth and round articular surface. Usually, a condyle is round, enlarged, and is present at the end of a bone. The main function of a condyle is to articulate with the next bone. Condyles are very important features of the skeletal system, and those are present in femur, tibia, mandible, and occipital bones. However, the trochlea and capitulum of the humerus function as condyles but not termed as such. The medial and lateral condyles are found on the distal end of the femur and those articulate with the knee joint. There are two condyles found on the proximal end of the tibia, and those are known as the medial and lateral condyles of tibia. The mandibular condyle is found on the mandible, which articulates with the mandibular joint. The occipital bone has two identical condyles, which articulate with the facets of the atlas vertebra to form the atlanto-occipital joint. These occipital condyles are oval-shaped enlargements with smooth surfaces.

It becomes clear now that the condyles are present in the skeletal system where the joints move frequently. The smooth surface and enlarged nature aid in efficient moving of the body parts. Therefore, condyle could be understood as one of the main interesting features of the skeletal system that enables the body to move efficiently.


Epicondyle is any projection of the bone that is present on or upon a condyle. Although located on the condyle, the function of an epicondyle is different. Providing a surface for attachment of muscle and ligament is the main function of the epicondyle. Therefore, it could be understood that epicondyles aid in controlling the movement of the joints. The muscles are controlled through the nervous system and the movement of the joint could be manipulated with the use of the epicondyle. Since the epicondyle serves in providing surface for attachment of ligaments, its importance could be considered as high to keep the ever moving bones at the right place. It would be important to understand that the surface of an epicondyle should be rough; otherwise the muscle and ligament attachment would have not taken place.

Additionally, the epicondyles are not always round in shape like most of the condyles. Some of the most discussed epicondyles are the medial and lateral epicondyles of femur and humerus. Additionally, the ventral and dorsal epicondyles of birds are important for them to keep their bones together and move them with the control.

Condyle vs Epicondyle

• Condyle appears more prominent than the epicondyle.

• Condyles are usually more round shaped than epicondyles.

• Condyle is smooth and large, whereas epicondyle is rough and small.

• Condyle articulates with a bone, but epicondyle provides surface for muscle and ligament attachment.