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Gracilis Muscle Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Actions and Innervation

Gracilis Muscle Anatomy Study

Origin: Lower half of the body of the pubis, the inferior pubic ramus, and the adjoining part of the ischial ramus.
Gracilis Muscle Anatomy
Insertion: Upper part of the medial flare of the tibia, just below the medial condyle, proximal and slightly anterior to the attachment of the semitendinosus, and posterior and somewhat inferior to the attachment of sartorius.
Action: Adduction of the thigh at the hip, assists with internal rotation of the thigh at the hip, assists with flexion of the thigh at the hip
Innervation: Anterior division of the obturator nerve  (L2 – 3)
Blood Supply: Obturator artery from the internal iliac artery

Synergist: Iliopsoas, Pectineus, Tensor Fasciae Latae, Adductor Brevis, Sartorius

Antagonist: Adductor Magnus, Gluteus Maximus

For more information see:  Gracilis Muscle: Constant burning pain in the inside of the thigh

Primary Action of the Gracilis:

  • The gracilis is not a prime mover and does not have a primary action 

Secondary Actions of the Gracilis:

1. Assists with flexion of the knee

  • Agonists: Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus
  • Antagonists: Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius, Rectus Femoris

2. Assists with internal rotation of the knee

  • Agonists: Popliteus, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus
  • Antagonists: Biceps Femoris

3. Assists with adduction of the thigh at the hip

  • Agonists: Adductor Longus, Adductor Brevis, Adductor Magnus (anterior part)
  • Antagonists: Gluteus Maximus (upper fibers), Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus

Study Human Anatomy

Anatomy Coloring Book

The Anatomy Coloring Book is one of the best study and reference books for beginning anatomy students. The diagrams are clearly labeled and allow you to see the relationship and placement of the various structures of the body. You will also be surprised how the act of coloring will help with recall. But this is not just a beginners book, it is also great for practitioners and therapists to have on hand to use with clients and patients to use as a visual reference.

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy


Out of the scores of books in my office Basic Clinical Massage Therapy is by far the most referenced book in my library. The musculoskeletal system is overlaid on human models allowing you to learn the precise location, origin and insertions of each muscle. The models are pictured in various poses throughout the book which also helps you visualize muscles in motion and their actions relationship with the skeletal structure and other muscles. Though it is written for massage therapists, it is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn about the muscular system. MT’s will benefit from recommended treatments for each muscle.



The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook – Claire Davies, Amber Davies, and David G. Simons

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy: Integrating Anatomy and Treatment – James H. Clay and David M. Pounds

Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain – Donna Finando and Steven Finando

Massage Therapy Principles and Practice – Susan Salvo

Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage – Mark Beck


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