Quadriceps femoris muscle

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Quadriceps femoris muscle
Illu lower extremity muscles.jpg
Muscles of lower extremity. (Rectus femoris removed to reveal the vastus intermedius.)
Latin musculus quadriceps femoris
Gray's subject #128 470
Origin combined rectus femoris and vastus muscles
Insertion    tibial tuberosity
Artery: femoral artery
Nerve: Femoral nerve
Action: Knee extension; Hip flexion (R.Fem. only)

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


The quadriceps femoris (quadriceps, quadriceps extensor, guads or quads) includes the four prevailing muscles on the front of the thigh. It is the great extensor muscle of the knee, forming a large fleshy mass which covers the front and sides of the femur.

It is subdivided into separate portions, which have received distinctive names.

  • Rectus femoris occupies the middle of the thigh, covering most of the other three quadriceps muscles. It originates on the ilium. It is named from its straight course.

All four parts of the quadriceps muscle attach to the patella via the quadriceps tendon.

The quadriceps is also involved in Lombard's Paradox.


All four quadriceps are powerful extensors of the knee joint. They are crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. Because rectus femoris attaches to the ilium, it is also a flexor of the hip. This action is also crucial to walking or running as it swings the leg forward into the ensuing step.

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

de:Musculus quadriceps femoris he:השריר הארבע ראשי fi:Nelipäinen reisilihas sv:Quadriceps