Massage & Bodywork

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2021

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m p.co m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 43 Popliteal Fossa By Christy Cael education | FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY The popliteal fossa generally describes the diamond-shaped depression on the posterior knee where the distal thigh joins the proximal leg. The somewhat domed roof of the popliteal fossa is formed by the popliteal fascia, a structure that is continuous with the fascia lata superiorly and fascia cruris inferiorly. The distal femur, proximal tibia, and tibiofemoral joint capsule combine with the popliteus muscle to form the fl oor. Several muscles form the borders of the popliteal fossa with the semimembranosis and semitendinosis tendons superior and medial, the biceps femoris tendon superior and lateral, and the two heads of gastrocnemius inferior. The popliteal fossa serves as a passageway for several important neurological and vascular structures that travel from the thigh to the leg. This includes two branches of the sciatic nerve — the tibial nerve, and common fi bular nerve (also called the peroneal nerve). The tibial nerve runs centrally through the fossa and then extends inferiorly to the ankle and medially oriented tarsal tunnel. It provides innervation to the gastrocnemius, soleus, plantaris, popliteus, fl exor digitorum longus, and fl exor hallucis longis muscles, and sensation to the posterolateral leg and lateral portion and sole of the foot. The common fi bular nerve branches and runs more laterally through the popliteal fossa, around the fi bular head, and down the lateral leg. It also has both motor and sensory functions, innervating the short head of the biceps femoris muscle directly, and then the tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis longus, extensor digitorum longus, and tibialis tertius muscles via the deep fi bular branch and fi bularis POPLITEAL FOSSA Borders • Roof: Popliteal fascia • Floor: Popliteal surface of the femur, tibiofemoral joint capsule, and popliteus muscle • Superomedial: Semimembranosis and semitendinosis tendons • Superolateral: Biceps femoris tendon • Inferomedial: Medial head of gastrocnemius muscle • Inferolateral: Lateral head of gastrocnemius muscle Contents • Nerve: Tibial and common fi bular nerves • Blood Supply: Popliteal artery and vein • Lymphatics: Superfi cial and deep popliteal lymph nodes Semimembranosis Tibial nerve Popliteus muscle Lateral head of gastrocnemius Branches of common fi bular nerve Biceps femoris Semitendinosis Popliteal vein Popliteal artery Popliteal lymph node Medial head of gastrocnemius

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