Medial Compartment of Thigh

The medial compartment of the thigh is frequently called the adductor compartment because the major action of this group of muscles is adduction, except for the hamstring portion of the adductor magnus which performs as a hamstring and is supplied by a different nerve than the obturator, which supplies the muscles of the medial compartment. Some people also include the pectineus with this group of muscles but it really belongs to the anterior compartment and is supplied by the femoral nerve, which is the nerve of the anterior compartment.
The superficial layer of adductor muscles are the:
  • gracilis
  • adductor longus
When the pectineus and adductor longus muscles are reflected, the second layer of muscles can be identified:
  • adductor brevis


Note that the obturator nerve exits the pelvis by passing through a small canal in the upper part of the obturator foramen. It then pierces the obturator externus muscle and splits on either side of the adductor brevis muscle as an anterior and posterior branch. It then supplies the adductor muscles.

In this image, you can see the anterior division of the obturator lying on the anterior surface of the adductor brevis muscle.
The deepest and largest muscle in the medial compartment is the adductor magnus. Most of this muscle inserts along the linea aspera of the femur. However, one part inserts into the adductor tubercle of the femur. This part is called the hamstring portion of this muscle and is thus, supplied by the tibial part of the sciatic nerve and functions along with the hamstrings in the posterior compartment of the thigh.

Table of Muscles

Muscle Origin Insertion Action Nerve
Supply
gracilis inferior ramus of pubis;
ramus of ischium
upper part of shaft of tibia
on its medial surface
adducts thigh; flexes leg obturator nerve
adductor longus body of pubis posterior surface of shaft of femur adducts thigh and assists
in lateral rotation
obturator nerve
adductor brevis inferior ramus of pubis posterior surface of shaft of femur adducts thigh and assists in
lateral rotation
obturator nerve
adductor magnus inferior ramus of pubis; ramus of ischium
ischial tuberosity
posterior surface of shaft of femur;
adductor tubercle of femur
adducts thigh and assists in
lateral rotation.
Hamstring part extends thigh
obturator nerve and tibial part of sciatic

 

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