Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2010

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functional anatomy BY CHRISTY CAEL ILIACUS Iliacus is a prime mover muscle for hip flexion and external rotation. Its origin is spread across the inner surface of the ilium, and its descending fibers join the psoas at the lesser trochanter of the femur. Iliacus is sometimes grouped with psoas major and minor because they share an insertion and perform all of the same actions. This group is called the iliopsoas and is commonly known as the hip flexors. The main function of iliacus is to flex ILIACUS Attachments • Origin: Ilium, iliac fossa, and ala of sacrum • Insertion: Femur, lesser trochanter Actions • Flexes the hip • Externally rotates the hip Innervation • Femoral nerve • L1–4 the hip during forward movements like walking, running, jumping, and kicking. A broad origin, thick muscle belly, and focused insertion give iliacus tremendous power drawing the thigh forward and up. This movement is critical when positioning the front or lead leg during the swing phase of walking and flight phase of running. Strong hip flexion is also needed to pull the back leg out of a lunge position or tuck the thighs up close to the body when jumping and during forward or backward rotations in diving, dance, or gymnastics. Bounding and skipping movements also rely on iliacus to pull the lead leg up and forward, propelling the body from the front as the trail leg extends, driving the motion from the back. Posturally, iliacus pulls the pelvis forward and down toward the femur when the lower extremity is fixed. This occurs during standing posture and when weight is shifted onto the foot and leg during gait. Iliacus combines its efforts with psoas, rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae, connect with your colleagues on massageprofessionals.com 85

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