Joe Muscolino

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The popliteus on the right side of the body. The semimembranosus and soleus have been ghosted in.

The Popliteus is located in the Deep Posterior Compartment of the (lower) leg. The muscles in the deep posterior compartment are:



  • Distal posterolateral femur to the proximal posteromedial tibia.
    • The popliteus attaches proximally onto the lateral surface of the lateral condyle of the femur.



  • Medially rotates the leg at the knee joint.
  • Laterally rotates the thigh at the knee joint.
  • Flexes the leg at the knee joint.



  1. The proximal tendon of the popliteus travels through the knee joint cavity. It is one of only two muscles in the human body that are intra-articular (the other being the long head of the biceps brachii).
  2. Lateral rotation of the thigh (femur) at the knee joint is the reverse/closed-chain joint action of medial rotation of the leg (tibia) at the knee joint.
  3. The rotation component of the popliteus is especially important at “unlocking” the extended knee joint.