Written by Roxanne Salkeld

Last updated January 16, 2023 • 4 Revisions •

The popliteus is a muscle within the deep compartment of the posterior leg. It lies behind the knee joint, forming the base of the popliteal fossa.

  • Attachments: Originates from the lateral condyle of the femur and the lateral meniscus of the knee joint. It inserts onto the proximal tibia, immediately above the origin of the soleus muscle.
  • Actions: Lateral rotation of the femur relative to the tibia. This ‘unlocks’ the knee joint so that flexion can occur.
  • Innervation: Tibial nerve
  • Blood supply: Popliteal artery

Fig 1
Muscles in the deep layer of the posterior leg.

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