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Rectus femoris



Rectus femoris - anterior view
Rectus femoris - origin
Rectus femoris - anterolateral view

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


  • SIAI
  • Just superior to acetabulum


  • Tuberositas tibiae
    • Via patellar ligamentet

Main function

  • Knee
    • Extension
  • Hip
    • Flexion
  • Pelvis
    • Anterior tilt

Nerve innervation

  • Segmental
    • L2-L4
  • Peripheral
    • Femoral nerve

Arterial supply

  • Femoral artery


  • Patient position
    • Supine
  • Place a pillow underneath the patient's knees
  • Place your hand just proximal to the patella
  • Place your hand just anterior on the patient's lower leg just proximal to the ankle
  • Give resistance towards a flexion direction of the knee so that the patient is giving force towards extension
    • Feel for contraction in the muscle
  • You can follow the muscle further proximally towards the origin at SIAI

Strength test

  • Patient position
    • Sitting with knees hanging over the edge of the treatment table
  • Stabilize the patient's knee by holding one hand just proximal to patella, ventrally on the femur
  • Place your other hand just distal and ventral to the tibia just proximal to the ankle joint
  • Ask the patient to press the foot in extension of the knee while you give resistance and press towards flexion
  • Regarding tensor fascia latae
    • If the patient is twisting the knee into medial rotation, this indicates that he/she is trying to compensate by using tensor fascia latae. The TFL will also be more active if the patient leans back during the testing
  • Regarding hamstrings
    • If the patient is leaning his/her upper body backwards, this can indicate that the position is giving a lot of force towards an over tightened hamstrings, and that the patient is trying to alleviate the pressure by having less stretch on it
  • Regarding rectus femoris
    • A third option as to why the patient is compensating to bending the upper body back, is if rectus femoris is stronger than the other quadriceps muscles
      • In such a case, the patient will want to have the hips extended as much as possible to have maximum advantage of using the muscle