Popliteus muscle

Last revised by Yoshi Yu on 23 Mar 2023

The popliteus is the smallest and most superior muscle of the deep posterior compartment of the leg.


  • origin: lateral femoral condyle and posterior horn of lateral meniscus

  • insertion: posterior surface of proximal tibia at the medial 2/3rd aspect, just superior to the soleal line

  • action

    • stabilizes knee joint (resists lateral rotation of tibia on femur)

    • unlocks knee joint (laterally rotates femur on fixed tibia)

  • arterial supplypopliteal artery

  • innervationtibial nerve

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: knee ligaments (Gray's illustrations)
    Drag here to reorder.