The knee is a joint that helps us move, and it is the largest joint in the human body as we know. Two major muscles work with the knee joint to help us move, within the two major muscles there are some smaller muscles. The types of muscles around the knee are the quadriceps muscles, and the hamstring muscles, each of these muscles branch off and have smaller muscles that all work together, to make the knee joint function and help us move. 

Quadriceps muscles are in the thigh region just above the knee, this muscle is a large and fleshy type that covers the frontal and back of the tight. This muscle has four different parts to make one large muscle. These four muscles are rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. The Quadricep muscles are primary in the upper part of the leg, like the hips and pelvic regions. The other four muscles are l all these muscles come together in a tendon that forms around the patella or the knee bone. The muscles help extends the knee, which is important for walking, standing, and all the activities we do in our daily lives. The quadriceps muscles are one of the strongest muscles in the body, in Latin, it is translated to “four-headed” muscle (Vaskovic, J 2021., 1)

One of the four muscles is the rectus femoris, which it’s location is at the base of the patella or knee. The function of the rectus femoris flexes the hips, and it extends the lower leg right at the knee. The rectus femoris is working in conjunction with the other three quadriceps muscles. Rectus Femoris aggravates the hamstring muscles of the hips and knees (Murdock, Mudreac, and Agyeman, 2010). 

The second of the four is the Vastus Lateralis in modern terms and Latin it is called Musculus Vastus Lateralis or Musculus Vastus Externus. This is the largest muscle and the most powerful one. The vastus lateralis is found mostly at the base of the patella and the quadriceps tendon area (Vaskovic, J 2021). This muscle helps with knee flex and extension, helps with all the movements of the lower body.

The three muscle in Latin is called Vastus Musculus or the response muscle in English. The Vastus Musculus is two muscles into one, then the second muscle that is associate with the Vastus Musculus is the Vastus Intermedius Muscle. The Vastus Intermedius Muscle is tucked in between the Vastus Musculus and Vastus Lateralis it was discovered during a cadaveric study done by Grob et al. This muscle was newly discovered within the Swiss population (Veeramani, Gnanasekaran 2017).  

The last muscle that is involved with the knee joint is the Quadriceps Femoris Tendon. This tendon is at the base of the patella, with the rest of the muscles. This muscle is concerned with the powerful muscle like the others the muscle also extends the knee, the Quadriceps Femoris Tendon uses the mechanical axis of the lower limb and pulls the patella along this axis (Vasković, 2021). This tendon is not only located in the patella but also the hips and this helps with the flexion in the upper leg muscles.

There are more parts to the muscles that are involved in the knee joint. I always thought there were only two major muscles, while I was working on my steam project I learned that there were more muscles and tendons that help us move and flex the knees. Each has its part to make the body function


Quadriceps femoris muscle

Vasković, Jana May 31, 2021

Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Hamstring Muscle

Raja,Avais; Rodgers, Copper D August 10, 2020

Morphometric study of tensor of vastus intermedius in South Indian population

Gnanasekaran, Dhivyalakshmi; Veeramani, Raveendranath Mar 29 2017

Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Rectus Femoris Muscle

Agyeman,Kofi; Mudreac, Andrew; Murdock, Christopher J


  1. The knee joint is a complex joint that allows active movement in the body. This hinge type synovial joint allows flexion, extension, medial and lateral rotation. There are two major muscles which help the knee joint move: the quadriceps femoris muscle and hamstrings. The quadriceps femoris muscle contain four muscles: the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. These muscles are located at the front of the thigh. The rectus femoris muscle is a straight muscle found in the anterior compartment of the high, the vastus lateralis is on the lateral aspect of the thigh, the vastus medialis is on the medial aspect of the thigh, and the vastus intermedius is between the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis. Together, these smaller muscles help the knee joint move. Besides the quadriceps, hamstrings are involved in knee joint movement, too. The hamstrings are composed of three muscles: biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. These muscles are located at the posterior and medial aspect of the thigh. Hamstrings allow knee flexion towards the buttocks. Even though two major muscle groups allow the knee joint to move, there are a number of smaller muscles within those two groups that allows movement.

    Betts, J. G., Desaix, P., Johnson, E., Johnson, J. E., Korol, O., Kruse, D., Poe, B., Wise, J., Womble, M. D., Young, K. A., & College, O. (2013). Anatomy & physiology. Openstax College, Rice University.

    Shannon Jimmei

Comments are closed.