Muscles of the Posterior Leg Compartment




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Muscles of the Posterior Leg Compartment

 

Download these charts, templates and posters of Muscles of the Posterior Leg Compartment images for anatomy.

The muscles of the posterior leg include:

  • Popliteus
  • Tibialis posterior
  • Flexor hallucis longus
  • Flexor digitorum longus
  • Gastrocnemius
  • Soleus

Helpful Hints:

popliteus – (poplit = behind the knee)
tibialis posterior – (tibial = tibia; posterior = toward the back)
flexor digitorum longus – (flex = reduce angle; digit = toe; longus = long)
flexor hallucis longus – (hallux = great toe)
gastrocnemius – (gaster = belly; kneme = leg)
soleus – (soleus = fish) *resembles the shape of a fish

muscles-in-the-deep-layer-of-the-posterior-leg-chart

The popliteus muscle can be found on the posterior side of the knee joint deep to the bifurcating heads of the superior portion of the gastrocnemius.

The tibialis posterior, the flexor hallucis longus, and the flexor digitorum longus all reside on the posterior side of the tibia or fibula. These three muscles are of interest, and are often grouped together, due to the fact that their inserting tendons travel a similar path. These three tendons travel along the distal posterior tibia, then travel posterior to (behind) the medial malleolus toward their attachments on the inferior aspect of the foot.

The gastrocnemius and the soleus compose the mass of the ‘calf muscle,’ with the soleus residing deep to the gastrocnemius. Both the gastrocnemius and the soleus use the Achilles tendon to attach to the ‘heel bone,’ also known as the calcaneus. These two muscles allow the heel to be raised off of the ground making the ball of the foot support of the weight of the body. Therefore, these muscles can generate a great deal of force to lift the great majority of the body’s weight.

For a discussion of ‘compartment syndrome’ of the lower leg, please review the Biomechanical Considerations section of this tutorial.

Origin:

Popliteus – This muscle originates at the lateral condyle of the femur.
Tibialis posterior – This muscle originates at the posterior surface of the shaft of the tibia and fibula.
Flexor digitorum longus – This muscle originates at the posterior surface of the shaft of the tibia.
Flexor hallucis longus – This muscle originates at the distal 2/3 of the posterior shaft of the fibula.
Gastrocnemius – This muscle originates from the posterior aspect of the medial and lateral condyles of the femur.
Soleus – This muscle originates primarily from the head of the fibula.

Insertion:

Popliteus – This muscle inserts onto the posterior proximal tibia at the popliteal line.
Tibialis posterior – This muscle inserts onto various structures on the inferior side of the foot. These structures include several tarsals, and metatarsals 2-4. Although not all individual tarsals were identified in this tutorial, the attachments include the navicular, the calcaneus, the three cuneiforms, and the cuboid.
Flexor digitorum longus – This muscle inserts onto the distal (third) phalanx of the four lesser toes.
Flexor hallucis longus – This muscle inserts onto the base of the distal (second) phalanx of the hallux.
Gastrocnemius – This muscle inserts onto the calcaneus via the calcaneal tendon (or Achilles tendon).
Soleus – This muscle inserts onto the calcaneus via the calcaneal tendon.

Action:

Popliteus – The action of this muscle includes knee joint flexion and medial rotation.
Tibialis posterior – The action of this muscle includes ankle joint plantar flexion, and subtalar joint inversion.
Flexor digitorum longus – The action of this muscle includes flexion of the metatarsophalangeal joint and interphalangeal joints of the four lesser toes; also ankle plantar flexion, and subtalar inversion.
Flexor hallucis longus – The action of this muscle includes flexion of the metatarsophalangeal and interphalangeal joint of the hallux; also ankle plantar flexion, and subtalar inversion.
Gastrocnemius – The action of this muscle includes ankle plantar flexion, and knee flexion. (biarticulate)
Soleus – The action of this muscle includes ankle plantar flexion.

Images and Charts

muscles-in-the-superficial-layer-of-the-posterior-leg-chart

muscles-in-the-superficial-layer-of-the-posterior-leg-chart

muscles-of-the-posterior-thigh-chart/

posterior-compartment-leg-muscles-chart

lower-limb-leg-anterior-compartmentbr-the-muscles/




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