The popliteus muscle is a small but important muscle at the back of the knee.

popliteus muscle and tendon passing through knee capsule at the back of the knee
The tendon of the popliteus passes into the joint cavity through the capsule at the back of the lateral meniscus, on its way to the side of the femur. The tendon can be seen from inside the knee during an arthroscopy.


Function of the popliteus muscle

The popliteus muscle enables the leg to 'unlock' from the stable standing position of rest by laterally rotating the femur on the tibia.


Multiligament instability of the knee

An overview of the types of multiligament instability seen in the knee.

Injury of the small muscle at the back of the knee may be confused with a torn meniscus.

Posterolateral corner

A brief overview of the anatomy in this important part of the knee.

An 'interpretation' of a 2006 medical article outlining the important anatomy of the important posterolateral corner of the knee, and the surgical procedures that are relevant there.



Shape and innervation of popliteus muscle. Hwang K, Lee KM, Han SH and Kim SG. Anat Cell Biol. 2010 Jun; 43(2): 165–168.

Popliteus impingement after TKA may occur with well-sized prostheses. Bonnin MP, de Kok A, Verstraete M, Van Hoof T, Van der Straten C, Saffarini M and JVictor J. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2017; 25(6): 1720–1730.

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