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Home Knee module  Surface landmarks  Posterior view
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Posterior aspect of the knee

The popliteal fossa is diamond-shaped and bordered by the tendons of the semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscles (medially), the prominent biceps femoris tendon (laterally), and the two heads of the gastrocnemius (inferiorly). When the knee is flexed against resistance, the two heads of the gastrocnemius are palpable at their origin on the posterior femoral surface just superior to the medial and lateral condyles.

A group of important structures are located in the popliteal fossa:
• popliteal artery (deepest structure in the fossa, runs close to the articular capsule of the knee joint)
• popliteal vein[s] (commonly there are two of these)
• tibial nerve
• common fibular (peroneal) nerve

When the knee is extended, the fascia covering the popliteal fossa is pulled tight and the underlying structures can be difficult to palpate. With flexion of the knee, the fascia and muscles relax and the popliteal pulse may be felt with deep palpation (the pulsations are best felt in the inferior part of the fossa where the popliteal artery is related to the tibia).

 

 

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