The popliteus muscle refers to a band of tissue located in the leg. The muscle wraps around the bottom half of the thighbone known as the femur. It stems from the back of the shinbone, or tibia, and runs through a bony projection at the bottom of the femur known as the femoral condyle. There are two other points of attachment. The muscle's tendon is connected to the popliteal fulcus on the thighbone. A part of the muscle also originates from the fibula. Its tendon reaches the knee capsule and wraps around the knee joint. The muscle is thin and flat, with a triangular shape that spans the femur and knee. The popliteal fossa, an open space at the back of the knee joint, is extended over the popliteus muscle. The tibial nerve supplies the muscle with nerve endings. The popliteus muscle provides the knee with some degree of mobility. With the muscle, the knee is able to rotate within the body by prompting the femur to turn on top of the tibia. Standing requires the least amount of activity from the popliteus muscle.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Popliteus