Vastus Lateralis

Joe Muscolino

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Anterior and right lateral views of the vastus lateralis of the quadriceps femoris group. In the anterior view, the vastus lateralis and rectus femoris have been ghosted in on the left side. In the lateral view, the rectus femoris has been ghosted in.

The Vastus Lateralis is a member of the Quadriceps Femoris Group, which is composed of the:

  • Rectus femoris
  • Vastus lateralis
  • Vastus medialis
  • Vastus intermedius



  • The vastus lateralis attaches from the lateral lip of the linea aspera of the femur to the tibial tuberosity (via the patella and [infra-]patellar ligament).



  • Extends the leg at the knee joint.
  • Tracks the patella laterally at the patellofemoral joint.



  1. The vastus lateralis is the largest of the four quadriceps femoris muscles.
  2. Often, pain in the lateral thigh that is attributed to the iliotibial band (ITB) is actually caused by the vastus lateralis.