Muscles of the Knee

Muscles of the KneeGive your muscles of the knee a bit of credit. They hold approximately 3 quarters of your body weight for a large part of the day. Knee muscles help you stand up, stabilize yourself, walk and run.

Even if you sit 8 hours a day at your job your leg muscles are working when they stretch and extend. That constant wear and tear should help you realize that those tired overworked muscles need some knee pain relief.

The Different Muscles of the Knee

The various muscles of the knee include:

Quadriceps Femoris – The large four-part extensor muscle at the front of the thigh.

  • Rectus Femoris
  • Yastus Lateralis
  • Yastus Medialis
  • Yastus Intermedius

Hamstring – A group of muscles at the back of the thigh.

  • Semitendinosus
  • Semimembranosus
  • Biceps Femoris

Popliteus Muscle – A muscle to unlock the knee by laterally rotating the thighbone on the shine.

Articularis Genus Muscle – A muscle to elevate the capsule of the knee joint.

Dorsal Flexor Muscles – A muscle that decreases movement between the front part of the foot & the shin.

Plantar Flexor Muscles – A muscle to help increase movement between the front part of the foot & the shin.

Plantaris Muscle – A muscle that acts to weakly flex the ankle & knee joint.

Peroneus Brevis Muscle – A muscle that acts in plantarflexion and eversion of the foot.

Sartorius Muscle – A large muscle that assists in flexing, abduction and lateral rotation of hip, and flexion of knee.

Tibialis Anterior Muscle – A muscle that acts to dorsiflex and invert the foot.

Conditions of the Muscles of the Knee

Some knee muscle conditions are common and others are not. Below is a list of knee muscle issues you might be experiencing.

Baker’s Cyst – Popliteal cyst, is a benign swelling of the popliteal muscle behind the knee joint. More about Baker’s Cyst here.

Chondromalacia Patella – An irritation of the undersurface of the kneecap. More about Chondromalacia Patella here.

Osteoarthritis – An abnormality involving degradation of joints. Got arthritic knee pain?

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Disorder that affect the synovial joint. More on Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Gout – A painful forms of arthritis in where the uric acid builds up in the body. Learn more about knee gout.

Pseudogout – A form of arthritis similar to gout, caused by calcium pyrophosphate crystals depositing in the knee or other joints.

Septic Arthritis – Bacterial infection inside the knee inflammation which can cause arthritis.

Knee Effusion – A build up of fluid in or around the knee joint. More about Knee Effusion here.

Meniscal Tear – A rupturing of one or more of the fibrocartilage strips in the knee called menisci.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) – stabilizes front-back knee movements & can be sprained or torn if the knee is hyperextended, twisted or bent. It’s a common sports injury that occurs when there is a hard stop or twisting of the knee. More about ACL here!

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) – also stabilizes front-back knee movements & is an injury that’s the least common in the 4 ligaments. More about PCL here!

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) – supports side to side movements & can become injured when there’s a pushing force on the outside of the knee inward. More about MCL here!

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) – also supports side to side movements and can become injured when there is a pushing force on the inside of the knee outward. More about LCL here!

Patellar Subluxation – An abnormal kneecap slide or dislocation along the thigh bone during activity.

Patellar Tendonitis – Jumpers knee or patellar tendonitis is pain in the tendon which attaches the kneecap to the shin bone.

Prepatellar bursitis – Beat knee, carpet layer’s knee, coal miner’s knee, or housemaid’s knee is an inflammation of the prepatellar bursa at the front of the knee.

Pain Relief for the Muscles of the Knee

Some knee pain relief can vary and overlap from condition to condition. If your knee pain is severe contact your doctor or medical practitioner before applying knee muscle techniques.

  1. RICE Therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation which is good for many knee conditions.
  2. NSAIDs – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or over the counter pain medication such as Advil, Aleve or Motrin.
  3. Physical therapy – An exercise program can strengthen the muscles of the knee.
  4. Cortisone Injection – A steroid injected into the knee.
  5. Hyaluronan injection – A substance doctors inject directly into your knee joint.
  6. Knee surgery – Surgery may be done to replace or repair a variety of knee conditions.
  7. Arthroscopic surgery – An endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision to treat the damaged muscles of the knee.
  8. ACL repair – A graft from your own body to replace a torn ACL.

Don’t forget to see our fantastic 3D knee diagram to better understand knee anatomy!

Have you had problems with any muscles of the knee? Please comment below.

Article last updated on January 7th, 2019, first published on March 11, 2013.

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