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Superior Gemellus Muscle
Muscular System

Superior Gemellus Muscle

Musculus gemellus superior

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Quick Facts

Origin: Ischial spine.

Insertion: Medial aspect of greater trochanter of femur.

Action: Laterally rotates and transversely abducts thigh at hip joint.

Innervation: Nerve to obturator internus (L5-S2).

Arterial Supply: Internal pudendal and inferior gluteal artery.

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The superior gemellus muscle originates from the posterior aspect of the ischial spine.


The fibers of the superior gemellus muscle travel laterally and insert, via a tendon that blends with the tendon of the obturator internus muscle, onto the medial aspect of the greater trochanter of the femur.

Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The superior gemellus muscle is one of the deep gluteal muscles. It is the smaller of the two gemelli muscles, the other being the inferior gemellus, and is a narrow convergent type of skeletal muscle.

It is located:

- superficial to the capsule of the hip joint;

- deep to the gluteus maximus muscle and the sciatic nerve;

- superior to the obturator internus muscle;

- inferior to the piriformis muscle.

Actions & Testing

The superior gemellus, obturator internus and inferior gemellus muscles work as a unit, collectively known as the triceps coxae, and are involved in multiple actions:

- laterally rotate the thigh at the hip joint;

- transversely abduct the thigh at the hip joint (i.e., they abduct the flexed thigh along the transverse plane).

The superior gemellus muscle cannot be tested in isolation, therefore all three muscles of the triceps coxae are tested simultaneously by transversely abducting the thigh at the hip joint against resistance (Standring, 2016).


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

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