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Popliteus Muscle
Muscular System

Popliteus Muscle

Musculus popliteus

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Quick Facts

Origin: Groove for popliteus muscle.

Insertion: Posterior surface of tibia, superior to soleal line.

Action: Medially rotates leg at knee joint; “unlocks” knee joint at beginning of knee flexion.

Innervation: Tibial nerve (L4-S1).

Arterial Supply: Inferior medial and inferior lateral genicular arteries.

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Origin

The popliteus muscle originates, within the capsule of the knee joint, from the:

- anterior end of the groove for popliteus muscle, which is located on the lateral condyle of the femur;

- lateral meniscus;

- arcuate popliteal ligament.

The popliteus muscle also attaches to the head of the fibula via the popliteofibular ligament.

Insertion

The fibers of the popliteus muscle travel posteromedially and insert, via a short, broad tendon, onto the area of the posterior surface of the tibia that is located superior to the soleal line.

Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The popliteus muscle is one of the muscles of the deep part of the posterior compartment of the leg. It is a short, thin, triangular skeletal muscle.

It is located:

- superficial to the lateral condyle of femur and the proximal part of tibia;

- deep to the fibular collateral ligament, the plantaris muscle, the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius muscle, the biceps femoris tendon, the popliteal vessels, and the tibial nerve.

The popliteus muscle contributes to the formation of the floor of the popliteal fossa.

Actions

The popliteus muscle is involved in multiple actions:

- medially rotates the leg at the knee joint while this joint is held in a semiflexed position;

- laterally rotates the femur on the tibia, which is necessary to “unlock” the fully extended knee joint at the beginning of knee flexion (Standring, 2016).

References

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

Actions

The popliteus muscle is involved in multiple actions:

- medially rotates the leg at the knee joint while this joint is held in a semiflexed position;

- laterally rotates the femur on the tibia, which is necessary to “unlock” the fully extended knee joint at the beginning of knee flexion (Standring, 2016).

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Popliteus Muscle

ScienceDirect image

The PMTL is an intricate anatomic conglomerate made up of the popliteus muscle, the PFL, the femoral insertion of the popliteus tendon, the popliteomeniscal fascicles and soft tissue attachments to the lateral meniscus, and the proximal tibia.

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The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

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