Knee Muscles Anatomy

By Ehren Allen, DPT, COMT

Knee Muscle Anatomy Overview

According to knee anatomy, the knee joint is a hinge joint between the tibia, fibula and femur bones. The patella, or knee cap, articulates with the trochlear groove on the end of the femur. At birth, a baby’s “knee cap” will not appear the same as an adult knee cap. The patella is a sesamoid bone that hardens from cartilage to bone at about 3 to 5 years of age. The medial patellofemoral ligament is basically a continuation of the retinaculum of the vastus medialis oblique muscle of the quad. There are four muscle of the quadriceps muscle:

  • Vastus Medialis
  • Rectus Femoris
  • Vastus Lateralis
  • Vastus Intermedius
Knee Muscles

Muscles of the Thigh

Please watch this video about the Knee Anatomy

Anatomy of the Knee Joint

Anatomy of the Knee Joint








Muscles of the Back of the Knee 

The hamstring muscles are the major muscle group of the back of the knee or thigh.  The muscles are the Bicep’s Femoris, Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus.  The hamstring muscles are often strained in running and cutting sports.  The other muscles are the gluteal muscles.  This group is the gluteus maximus, minimus and medius.

Other Knee Muscles

You also have the abductor and adductor muscles of the knee.  There are five muscles in the adductor group:

  • Adductor Longus
  • Adductor Brevis
  • Gracilis
  • Adductor Magnus
  • Pectineus.
Hamstring Anatomy Pic

Hamstring Muscles Image

The abductors group of muscles are the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, tensor fasciae latae, piriformis, sartorius, and superior fibers of the gluteus maximus are considered secondary hip abductors.

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Related Articles: Knee Anatomy and Anatomy of the Knee.

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