Pectineus muscle

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Anterior Hip Muscles 2.PNG
The pectineus and nearby muscles
Structures passing behind the inguinal ligament (pectineus visible at bottom right.)
Latin Musculus pectineus
Origin Pectineal line of the pubic bone
Insertion Pectineal line of the femur
Obturator artery
Femoral nerve, sometimes obturator nerve
Actions Thigh - flexion, adduction
Gray's p.472
TA A04.7.02.025
FMA 22440
Anatomical terms of muscle

The pectineus muscle (from the Latin word pecten, meaning comb[1]) is a flat, quadrangular muscle, situated at the anterior (front) part of the upper and medial (inner) aspect of the thigh. The pectineus muscle is the most anterior adductor of the hip. The muscle does adduct and medially rotate the thigh but its primary function is hip flexion.

It can be classified in the medial compartment of thigh[2] (when the function is emphasized) or the anterior compartment of thigh (when the nerve is emphasized).[3]


The pectineus muscle arises from the pectineal line of the pubis and to a slight extent from the surface of bone in front of it, between the iliopectineal eminence and pubic tubercle, and from the fascia covering the anterior surface of the muscle; the fibers pass downward, backward, and lateral, to be inserted into the pectineal line of the femur which leads from the lesser trochanter to the linea aspera.


The pectineus is in relation by its anterior surface with the pubic portion of the fascia lata, which separates it from the femoral artery and vein and internal saphenous vein, and lower down with the profunda artery.

By its posterior surface with the capsule of the hip joint, and with the obturator externus and adductor brevis, the obturator artery and vein being interposed.

By its external border with the psoas major, the femoral artery resting upon the line of interval.

By its internal border with the outer edge of the adductor longus.

Obturator hernia is situated directly behind this muscle, which forms one of its coverings.[4]


It is a composite muscle as the innervation is by the femoral nerve (L2 and L3) and occasionally (20% of the population) a branch of the obturator nerve called the accessory obturator nerve.


It is one of the muscles primarily responsible for hip flexion. It also adducts the thigh.

Additional images[edit]

See also[edit]

This article uses anatomical terminology; for an overview, see anatomical terminology.


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ Mosby's Medical, Nursing & Allied Health Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Mosby-Year Book Inc., 1994, p. 1177
  2. ^ Ellis, Harold; Susan Standring; Gray, Henry David (2005). Gray's anatomy: the anatomical basis of clinical practice. St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone. p. 518. ISBN 0-443-07168-3. 
  3. ^ medialthigh at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
  4. ^ Wilson, Erasmus (1851). The anatomist's vade mecum: a system of human anatomy. p. 260. 

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