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The Popliteal Fossa - Borders - Contents

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The Popliteal Fossa is a diamond-shaped space behind the knee joint. It is formed between the muscles in the posterior compartments of the thigh and leg. This anatomical landmark is the major route by which structures pass between the thigh and leg.

Popliteal Fossa


Its boundaries are:

The Biceps Femoris tendon (superolateral) and Semimembranosus reinforced by Semitendinosus (superomedial). The medial and lateral heads of Gastrocnemius form the inferomedial and inferolateral boundaries, respectively.


The floor of the fossa is formed by the Popliteal surface of the Femur, the capsule of the Knee reinforced by the oblique Popliteal ligament and, the Popliteus muscle covered by its Fascia.


The roof of the Popliteal fossa is covered by the Fascia Lata which is strongly reinforced by the transverse fibers. Thus, the roof is pierced by the small Saphenous vein and the posterior Femoral cutaneous nerve.


The major content of the Popliteal fossa are:

  • The Popliteal Artery; This is the deepest of the neurovascular structures in the Popliteal fossa. It is a continuation of the Femoral artery and appears on the upper medial side under the margin of the Semimembranosus muscle.
  • The Popliteal vein: It is superficial to the and travels with the Popliteal artery.
  • The Tibia nerve and common Fibular nerve: These are the two major branches of the Sciatic nerve. They are the most superficial of the neurovascular structures in the Popliteal fossa. They appear under the margin of the Biceps Femoris muscles.

Clinical Significance

  • Baker's cyst
  • Popliteal Pulse
  • Popliteal Aneurysm
  • Popliteal nerve block
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