Anterior thigh muscles

Anterior view of the hip and femur showing the muscles that act on the anterior thigh

The muscles of the anterior thigh include three members: sartorius, quadriceps femoris muscle and articularis genus muscles.

The most notable member of the group is the quadriceps femoris, which consists of four heads:

This powerful muscle crosses both the hip and knee joint, providing strong extension of the leg and flexion of the hip. Its distal tendon is the main component of the patellar ligament, which holds the patella (kneecap) in place, thus stabilizing the knee joint. 

The sartorius muscle is the longest muscle in the body, coursing obliquely from the side of the hip to the inner aspect of the leg. It also acts both on the hip and knee joints.

The articularis genus muscle is a small muscle in the knee region whose function is to stabilize the knee joint during extension.

Besides the anterior thigh muscles, there are several muscles in the hip region and medial part of the thigh that also act on the hip and knee joints. On the medial aspect of the thigh, there are five adductor muscles whose primary function is to pull the thigh towards the midline: adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, gracilis, and pectineus.

On the anterior aspect of the hip, there’s a group of muscles that act upon the hip joint, called the inner hip muscles. These muscles are iliopsoas (psoas major and iliacus) psoas minor, obturator externus, obturator internus, superior gemellus, inferior gemellus, piriformis, and quadratus femoris muscles. Their primary function is to flex the thigh.

Explore the topic with our interactive diagrams below, or learn the muscles with advanced quizzes.