The popliteus tendon is the tendon of the popliteus muscle, which is a muscle at the back of the knee. 

Popliteus muscle and popliteus tendon This is a view from the back of the knee.

 

What does the popliteus do?

The popliteus muscle contributes to knee stability. When a person is standing the knee is normally locked in extension so that the knee does not simply collapse. When the person decides to walk or bend the knee, contraction of the popliteus unlocks the knee and allows flexion to happen. 

 

Is the popliteus tendon important?

The tendon of the popliteus is important in that its anatomy is unusual, and surgeons may find damage challenging to repair.

 

Why is the popliteus tendon unusual?

The popliteus muscle and its tendon have a complex relationship to the lateral meniscus and the other structures of the posterolateral corner. The tendon passes into the joint capsule behind the lateral meniscus via a gap called the popliteus hiatus, on its way to its origin on the side of the femur bone. This makes this area relatively weak.

 

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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...

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