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Gracilis - anterior view
Gracilis - posterior view

Origin & insertion

Gracilis - origin
Gracilis - anteromedial insertion

General information

  • This section is strictly limited to anatomy, you might be looking for clinical relevant information which is found under the clinical chapters -- muscles section, click here to go to that page


  • Superficial


  • Symphysis pubis
    • Inferior 1/2
  • Inferior ramus pubis
    • Medial aspect


  • Medial surface of tibia just distal to the condyle
  • Pes anserineus tendon

Main function

  • Hip
    • Adduction
    • Flexion
  • Knee
    • Flexion
  • Pelvis
    • Anterior tilt

Secondary function

  • Knee
    • Medial rotation
  • Pelvis
    • Elevation

Nerve innervation

  • Segmental
    • L2-L3
  • Peripheral
    • Obturator nerve

Arterial supply

  • Deep femoral artery
  • Obturator artery


  • Patient position
    • Supine with the thigh resting on the bench while the leg is hanging freely outside of the edge and the knee flexed to 90°
  • Place your hand distally and posteromedially to the femur just proximal to the knee joint
  • Ask the patient to flex the knee
  • Feel for gracilis and semitendinosus tendons that should be easily located by palpation
  • The gracilis tendon is smaller than and is located medially to semitendinosus
  • Keep palpating gracilis proximally while you ask the patient to flex the knee towards the bench, so that you are getting tension in the muscle and it becomes more easily located

Strength test

  • Patient position
    • Sidelying with the side being tested is down towards the bench
  • Ask the patient to lie straight so that the side being tested is the lowest part
  • Grab the patient's upper leg and help the patient hold the leg in an abducted position throughout the test
  • Ask the patient to lift the lower leg up from the bench so that the lower hip is adducted
  • Meanwhile, hold the femur medially just proximal to the knee joint and give resistance in abduction (the patient is pressing towards adduction)
    • Note that the pelvis is not rotated or anterior tilted
      • In rotation there will be more pressure on the lower fibers of gluteus maximus
      • In anterior tilt there will be compensation of the hip flexors