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Popliteal Fascia
Connective Tissue

Popliteal Fascia

Fascia poplitea

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The popliteal fascia refers to the fascia that covers the roof of the popliteal fossa. It underlies the superficial fascia (subcutaneous tissue) and envelops muscles, bones, and neurovascular structures.

Many collagen fibers in the popliteal fascia are longitudinally arranged, which thicken along the lateral side of the fascia. Other fibers are set at an angle and run from lateral to medial, craniocaudally. The latter are referred to as “retinaculum,” which thicken transversely in the deep fascia and are attached at both ends to local bony prominences (Standring, 2016).

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Anatomical Relations

Superiorly, the popliteal fascia is continuous with the fascia lata of the thigh. The latter extends from the proximal thigh to the bony prominences of the tibia distally. Inferiorly, the popliteal fascia is continuous with the deep fascia of the leg, i.e., the crural fascia.


The popliteal fascia protects the neurovascular structures within the popliteal fossa. The tough, inelastic sheath of fascia serves as a retinaculum for the tendons of the hamstring muscles passing deep to the retinaculum. These long tendons would otherwise be dragged or bowed out of position by the activities of their muscles.


Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41st edn.: Elsevier Limited.

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The fascia is also defined as a “the fascial system consists of the three-dimensional continuum of soft, collagen containing, loose and dense fibrous connective tissues that permeate the body” by Fascia Nomenclature Committee (Bordoni and Whitte, 2018), an as “masses of connective tissue large enough to be visible to the unaided eye” by Gray’s Anatomy (Standring, 2016).

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