Popliteal fossa

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Popliteal fossa
Lateral aspect of right leg
Lymph glands of popliteal fossa
LatinFossa poplitea
Anatomical terminology

The popliteal fossa (sometimes referred to as the hough[1], or kneepit in analogy to the armpit) is a shallow depression located at the back of the knee joint. The bones of the popliteal fossa are the femur and the tibia. Like other flexion surfaces of large joints (groin, armpit, cubital fossa and essentially the anterior part of the neck), it is an area where blood vessels and nerves pass relatively superficially, and with an increased amount of lymph nodes.


The boundaries of the fossa are:[1]

  Medial Lateral
Superior superior and medial:
the semimembranosus & semitendinosus muscles
superior and lateral:
the biceps femoris muscle
Inferior inferior and medial:
the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle
inferior and lateral:
the lateral head of the gastrocnemius muscle and plantaris muscle


The roof is formed by (from superficial to deep):[1]

  1. skin
  2. superficial fascia, which contains the small saphenous vein, the terminal branch of the posterior cutaneous nerve of the thigh, posterior division of the medial cutaneous nerve, lateral sural cutaneous nerve, and medial sural cutaneous nerve
  3. deep fascia or popliteal fascia


The floor is formed by:[1]

  1. the popliteal surface of the femur
  2. the capsule of the knee joint and the oblique popliteal ligament
  3. strong fascia covering the popliteus muscle


Structures within the popliteal fossa include, (from superficial to deep):[1]

It is of note that the common fibular nerve also begins at the superior angle of the popliteal fossa.[3]

Additional images[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Buckenmaier III C; Bleckner L (2008). "Chapter 20: Popliteal nerve block" (PDF). The Military Advanced Regional Anesthesia and Analgesia Handbook. Rockville, Maryland: Defense & Veterans Pain Management Initiative (DVPMI). Retrieved 2011-06-08.
  2. ^ a b c Clinically Oriented Anatomy by Moore, 6th edition
  3. ^ http://teachmeanatomy.info/lower-limb/areas/popliteal-fossa/

External links[edit]