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Home Knee module  Muscles that act on the knee joint

Muscles that act on the knee joint

The principal movements of the knee joint are flexion and extension, although some rotation occurs when the knee is flexed. Knowing a muscle’s origin and insertion sites allows you to reason out what its effect on a given joint will be.

As you work through this module, concentrate on the muscles that act on the knee joint and their specific actions. While not all of the thigh and leg muscles listed here act on the knee joint, they are grouped by compartment for completeness.

The thigh muscles are organized into three compartments: anterior, medial, and posterior-– by intermuscular septa that pass between the muscles from the fascia lata to the femur. Likewise, the muscles of the leg are divided into three compartments: anterior, lateral, and posterior-– by the anterior and posterior intermuscular septa and the interosseous membrane.


Thigh and leg muscle attachment menu

Thigh muscles

  1. Anterior compartment
  2. Medial compartment
  3. Posterior compartment

Leg Muscles

  1. Anterior compartment
  2. Lateral compartment
  3. Superficial posterior compartment
  4. Deep posterior compartment


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