Popliteus - Muscle Physiology & Functional Anatomy


Popliteus  Muscle




  • Posterior shaft of tibia above soleal line & below tibial condyles


  • Middle of three facets on lateral surface of lateral condyle of femur.

Major Arteries:

  • Popliteal artery


Neural Innervation:

  • Tibial nerve (L5, S1)


Trigger Points:

Popliteus Trigger Points





Concentric Functions:

  • Medial rotation & flexion of the knee

  • Helps to withdraw the lateral meniscus during knee flexion


Eccentric Functions:


Isometric Function:


Related Muscles




Back to Anatomy InformationFunctional Anatomy Chart

More Images of the Popliteus Muscle

Popliteus MuscleProximal Attachment of Popliteus Muscle



More Information about the Popliteus Muscle

The popliteus muscle has many functions because it has the ability to reverse its origin and insertion, depending on whether the femur or the tibia is fixed. 

The popliteus muscle helps internally rotate the tibia in a knee that is already extended.  Because of the countour of the femoral condyles, this internal rotation "unlocks" the knee if fully extended.  Therefore popliteus muscle is often referred to as the "Key" to unlocking the knee!

A short & tight popliteus muscle can cause pain near its tendinous origin at the lateral knee.