Table of Lower Limb Muscles

Muscles of Gluteal Region

Muscle Origin Insertion Nerve Action
gluteus maximus outer surface of ilium, sacrum, coccyx, sacrotuberous ligament iliotibial tract and gluteal tuberosity of femur inferior gluteal nerve extends & laterally rotates thigh; through iliotibial tract, it extends knee joint
gluteus medius outer surface of ilium greater trochanter of femur superior gluteal nerve abducts thigh. Tilts pelvis when walking
gluteus minimus outer surface of ilium greater trochanter of femur superior gluteal nerve abduct thigh; anterior fibers medially rotate thigh
tensor fasciae latae iliac crest iliotibial tract superior gluteal nerve assists gluteus major in locking the knee into full extension
piriformis anterior surface of sacrum greater trochanteric fossa 1st & 2nd sacral nerves lateral rotator of thigh
superior gemellus spine of ischium greater trochanteric fossa sacral plexus lateral rotator of thigh
obturator internus inner surface of obturator membrane greater trochanteric fossa sacral plexus lateral rotator of thigh
inferior gemellus ischial tuberosity greater trochanteric fossa sacral plexus lateral rotator of thigh
obturator externus outer surface of obturator membrane greater trochanteric fossa of femur obturator nerve lateral rotator of thigh

Anterior Compartment of Thigh

sartorius anterior superior iliac spine upper medial surface of tibia femoral nerve flexes, abducts, laterally rotates thigh; flexes & medially rotates leg
iliacus iliac fossa with psoas into the lesser trochanter of femur femoral nerve flexes thigh on trunk; if thigh is fixed, it flexes the trunk onto the thigh as in sitting up
psoas 12th thoracic body; transverse process, bodies & intervertebral discs of the 5 lumbar vertebrae lesser trochanter of femur along with iliacus lumbar plexus flexes thigh on trunk; if thigh fixed, it flexes trunk onto thigh as in sitting up
pectineus superior ramus of pubis upper end shaft of femur femoral nerve flexes and adducts thigh
quadriceps femoris, rectus femoris straight head from anterior inferior iliac spine; reflected head from ilium above acetabulum quadriceps tendon into patella; into tibial tuberosity by patellar tendon femoral nerve extension of leg
quadriceps femoris, vastus lateralis upper end and shaft of femur quadriceps tendon into patella; into tibial tuberosity by patellar tendon femoral nerve extension of leg
quadriceps femoris, vastus medialis upper end and shaft of femur quadriceps tendon into patella; into tibial tuberosity by patellar tendon femoral nerve extension of leg
quadriceps femoris, vastus intermedius shaft of femur quadriceps tendon into patella; into tibial tuberosity by patellar tendon femoral nerve extension of leg
Muscles of Medial Compartment of Thigh
gracilis inferior ramus of pubis; ramus of ischium upper part of shaft of tibia on medial surface obturator nerve adducts thigh and flexes leg
adductor longus body of pubis posterior surface of shaft of femur obturator nerve adducts thigh; assists in lateral rotation
adductor brevis inferior ramus of pubis posterior surface of shaft of femur obturator nerve adducts thigh; assists in lateral rotation
adductor magnus inferior ramus of pubis; ramus of ischium, ischial tuberosity posterior surface of shaft of femur near linea aspera; adductor tubercle of femur obturator nerve; tibial nerve to hamstring part adducts thigh and assists in lateral rotation; hamstring part extends thigh

Muscles of Posterior Compartment of Thigh

biceps femoris long head from ischial tuberosity; short head from shaft of femur head of fibula long head:tibial; short head:common peroneal flexes and laterally rotates leg; long head extends thigh
semitendinosus ischial tuberosity upper part medial surface of shaft of tibia tibial nerve flexes and medially rotates leg; extends thigh
semimembranosus ischial tuberosity medial condyle of tibia; forms oblique popliteal ligament tibial nerve flexes and medially rotates leg; extends thigh
adductor magnus (hamstring part) ischial tuberosity adductor tubercle of femur tibial nerve extends thigh

Muscles of Anterior Compartment of the Leg

tibialis anterior shaft of tibia and interosseous membrane medial cuneiform & base of first metatarsal deep peroneal nerve extends the foot; inverts foot at subtalar and transverse tarsal joints; supports medial longitudinal arch
extensor digitorum shaft of fibula and interosseous membrane extensor expansion of lateral four toes deep peroneal nerve extends toes; dorsiflexes (extends) foot
peroneus tertius shaft of fibula & interosseous membrane base of 5th metatarsal bone deep peroneal nerve dorsiflexes (extends) foot; everts foot at subtalar and transverse tarsal joints
extensor hallucis longus shaft of fibula & interosseous membrane base of distal phalanx of big toe deep peroneal nerve extends big toe; dorsiflexes (extends) foot; inverts foot at subtalar and transverse tarsal joints

Muscles of Lateral Compartment of Leg

peroneus longus shaft of fibula base of 1st metatarsal & medial cuneiform superficial peroneal nerve plantar flexes foot; everts foot at subtalar & transverse tarsal joints; supports lateral longitudinal and transverse arches of foot
peroneus brevis shaft of fibula base of 5th metatarsal bone superficial peroneal nerve plantar flexes foot; everts foot at subtalar & transverse tarsal joints; supports lateral longitudinal arch

Muscles of Posterior Compartment of the Leg

gastrocnemius medial and lateral condyles of femur by way of Achilles tendon to calcaneum tibial nerve plantar flexes foot; flexes leg
plantaris lateral supracondylar ridge of femur calcaneum tibial nerve plantar flexes foot; flexes leg
soleus shafts of tibia and fibula by way of achilles tendon into calcaneum tibial nerve with gastrocnemius & plantaris is powerful plantar flexor of foot; provides main propulsive force in walking & running
popliteus lateral condyle of femur shaft of tibia tibial nerve flexes leg; unlocks full extension of knee by laterally rotating femur on tibia
flexor digitorum longus shaft of tibia distal phalanges of lateral four toes tibial nerve flexes distal phalanges of lateral four toes; plantar flexes foot; supports medial and lateral longitudinal arches of foot
flexor hallucis longus shaft of fibula base of distal phalanx of big toe tibial nerve flexes distal phalanx of big toe; plantar flexes foot; supports medial longitudinal arch
tibialis posterior shafts of tibia and fibula & interosseous membrane tuberosity of navicular bone tibial nerve plantar flexes foot; inverts foot at subtalar and transverse tarsal joints; supports medial longitudinal arch of foot

Muscles on the Dorsum of Foot

extensor digitorum brevis calcaneum by four tendons into the proximal phalanx of big toe and long extensor tendons to 2nd, 3rd and 4th toes deep peroneal nerve extends toes

Muscles of the Sole of the Foot (First Layer)

abductor hallucis medial tubercle of calcaneum; flexor retinaculum medial side, base of proximal phalanx of big toe medial plantar nerve flexes, abducts big toe; supports medial arch
flexor digitorum brevis medial tubercle of calcaneum middle phalanx of four lateral toes medial plantar nerve flexes lateral four toes; supports medial & lateral longitudinal arches
abductor digiti minimi medial & lateral tubercles of calcaneum lateral side base of proximal phalanx 5th toe lateral plantar nerve flexes, abducts 5th toe; supports lateral longitudinal arch

muscles of Sole of Foot (Second Layer)

flexor accessorius (quadratus plantae) medial and lateral sides of calcaneum tendons flexor digitorum longus lateral plantar nerve aids long flexor tendon to flex lateral four toes
flexor digitorum longus tendon shaft of tibia base of distal phalanx of lateral four toes tibial nerve flexes distal phalanges of lateral four toes; plantar flexes foot; supports longitudinal arch
lumbricals tendons of flexor digitorum longus dorsal extensor expansion of lateral four toes 1st lumbrical from medial plantar; remainder lumbricals from deep branch of lateral plantar nerve extends toes at interphalangeal joints
flexor hallucis longus shaft of fibula base of distal phalanx of big toe tibial nerve flexes distal phalanx of big toe; plantar flexes foot; supports medial longitudinal arch

Muscles of Sole of Foot (Third Layer)

flexor hallucis brevis cuboid, lateral cuneiform bones; tibialis posterior insertion medial & lateral sides of base of proximal phalanx of big toe medial plantar nerve flexes metatarsophalangeal joint of big toe; supports medial longitudinal arch
adductor hallucis (oblique head) bases of 2nd, 3rd & 4th metatarsal bones lateral side base of proximal phalanx big toe deep branch of lateral plantar flexes big toe, supports transverse arch
adductor hallucis (transverse head) plantar ligaments lateral side of base of proximal phalanx big toe deep branch of lateral plantar nerve flexes big toe; supports transverse arch
flexor digiti minimi brevis base of 5th metatarsal bone lateral side of base of proximal phalanx of big toe superior branch of lateral plantar nerve flexes little toe

Muscles of Sole of Foot (Fourth Layer)

dorsal interossei (4) adjacent sides of metatarsal bones bases of phalanges and dorsal expansion of corresponding toes lateral plantar nerve abduct toes with 2nd toe as the reference; flex metatarsophalangeal joints; extend interphalangeal joint
plantar interossei (3) 3rd, 4th, and 5th metatarsal bones bases of phalanges & dorsal expansion of corresponding toes lateral plantar nerve adduct toes with 2nd toe as reference; flex metatarsophalangeal joints; extend interphalangeal joints
tendon of peroneus longus see above see above see above see above
tendon of tibialis posterior see above see above see above see above


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cadaver This is copyrighted©1999 by Wesley Norman, PhD