Anterior compartment of thigh

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Anterior compartment of thigh
Gray432 color.png
Cross-section through the middle of the thigh. (Anterior compartment is at upper left, from the 7 o'clock position to the 2 o'clock position)
Latin compartimentum femoris anterius
femoral artery
femoral nerve
Gray's p.468
TA A04.7.01.002
FMA FMA:22424
Anatomical terminology

The anterior compartment of thigh contains muscles which extend the knee and flex the hip.


The anterior compartment is an anatomical compartment surrounded by fascia. It contains the following five muscles:[1]

The iliopsoas is sometimes considered a member of the anterior compartment muscles,[2] as is the articularis genus muscle.[3]


The muscles of the anterior compartment of the thigh are innervated by the femoral nerve,[2] in addition to the pectineus of the medial compartment.

The iliacus and the psoas muscles, sometimes considered part of the anterior compartment, do not share the same innervation. Whereas the iliacus is innervated by the femoral nerve, the psoas is innervated by ventral rami of L1-L3. [2]


Cross-section of the upper right thigh. In this diagram, the anterior surface is at the bottom (labelled "A"). The anterior compartment is separated by a fibrous septum which is visible from the femoral artery and vein at the bottom, surrounding the sartorius muscle, and travelling to the profunda femoris artery adjacent to the femur (not labelled), from here to the sciatic nerve, and then between the vastus lateralis and biceps femoris muscles. The compartments on the left-hand side of the image are contained within the compartment.

The anterior compartment of thigh contains muscles which extend the knee and flex the hip. [2]

Clinical significance[edit]

The anterior compartment may be affected as part of a compartment syndrome.[4]


  1. ^ Sauerland, Eberhardt K.; Patrick W., PhD. Tank; Tank, Patrick W. (2005). Grant's dissector. Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 125. ISBN 0-7817-5484-4. 
  2. ^ a b c d Drake, Richard L.; Vogl, Wayne; Tibbitts, Adam W.M. Mitchell; illustrations by Richard; Richardson, Paul (2005). Gray's anatomy for students. Philadelphia: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone. p. 518. ISBN 978-0-8089-2306-0. 
  3. ^ "Summary of Lower Limb". Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  4. ^ Wadhawan, Himanshu; Upadhyay, Vishal; Sabboubeh, Adel; Al Hussainy, Haydar A. J.; Madan, Sanjeev (9 April 2007). "Acute Anterior Thigh Compartment Syndrome Revisited: A Case Report and Review of Literature". European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery 33 (4): 430–433. doi:10.1007/s00068-007-6952-5. 

External links[edit]