Massage & Bodywork

March/April 2013

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education Pathology perspectives | body awareness | functional anatomy | somatic research Pectineus By Christy Cael The pectineus is part of the hip adductor group, joining the adductor brevis, the adductor longus, and the adductor magnus, as well as the gracilis, in pulling the thigh in toward the midline (hip adduction). These muscles connect the inferior, medial pelvic girdle to the femur. The pectineus is the smallest of the adductor muscles, and its fibers slope inferiorly and laterally between the superior ramus of the pubis and the posterior, proximal end of the femur. Because it is located within the femoral triangle, this muscle can be challenging to palpate and treat. Functionally, the pectineus pulls the femur in and forward. This motion helps position the lower extremity for heel strike during gait and pulls the leg forward during kicking motions. These activities occur with the foot free. When the foot is planted, the function of the pectineus differs: it helps stabilize the pelvis over the femur. Without it and the other adductors, the pelvis would shift medially over the knee, compromising stability and alignment in the lower extremity. The role of the pectineus and the other adductors also changes with the position of the femur. When the hip is flexed and the femur forward, the adductor magnus joins the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the hamstring group to extend the hip in pulling the pelvis forward over the foot. During this activity, the adductor muscles stabilize the hip and help keep the body aligned over the leg when bearing weight. When the hip is extended and the femur back, the adductor longus, the adductor brevis, and the pectineus join the other hip flexors in swinging the leg forward. They also oppose abduction by the gluteus medius, maintaining position of the swinging leg in the sagittal plane. This alternating function also occurs during walking or running. Shortening of the pectineus may occur with prolonged sitting, pulling the pelvis into an anteriorly rotated position upon standing. This postural deviation contributes to lumbar lordosis and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Assess muscle length and tone in all hip flexors including the psoas, the iliacus, and the rectus femoris, as well as the anteriororiented adductors (the adductor longus, the adductor brevis, and the pectineus) in clients with anterior pelvic tilt. Pectineus Attachments • Origin: Superior ramus of pubis • Insertion: Pectineal line of femur Actions • Adducts the hip • Flexes the hip Innervation • Femoral and obturator nerves • L2–4 See what benefits await you. 49

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