Popliteus in cadaver dissection and labeled illustration

What's in a name:



  • Origin: Anterior part of the groove on the lateral condyle of the femur via a hiatus in knee capsule with fibers of the popliteal tendon joining the poplitiofibular ligament, the arcuate popliteal ligament, and posterior horn of the lateral meniscus. The popliteus is the only muscle to attach inside the knee capsule, despite the muscle existing outside the articular capsule and synovial membrane (3, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18).
  • Insertion: Triangular area proximal to the soleal line on the posterior surface of the tibia (anterior proximal quarter of the popliteal sulcus) and fascia covering the muscle, coursing underneath the LCL and tendon of the biceps femoris, with fibers of the oblique popliteal ligament investing in the fascia at the insertion of the popliteus (3, 11, 16, 17, 18).


  • Tibial nerve arising from the sciatic nerve via the sacral plexus, originating from nerve roots L5, S1 and sometimes L4.


  • Knee: Tibial internal rotation (femoral external rotation in a closed chain), may contribute a small amount of force to knee flexion (3, 8, 16).
    • Based on the attachments of its complex insertion, may play a role in pulling the