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Thigh posterior compartment muscles

Other Terms: Hamstrings


Like the medial compartment of the thigh, the posterior compartment arises from embryonic anterior, or flexor, musculature. This compartment, the smallest of the three thigh compartments, contains three long rounded muscles that share much in common. All three muscles arise from the ischial tuberosity, extend the hip and flex the knee, and receive their nerve supply via the tibial branch of the sciatic nerve (with the exception of the short head of the biceps femoris, which is innervated by the common fibular (peroneal) branch of the sciatic nerve). Often referred to as the hamstring muscles, because of their long rope-like tendons of insertion, these muscles work with the sartorius and gracilis as the strong flexors of the knee joint. As they approach the knee, the biceps femoris angles laterally while the semitendinosus and semimembranosus angle medially. This separation in the musculature defines the upper boundaries of the popliteal fossa posterior to the knee.


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