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Rectus Femoris Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

 Rectus Femoris Anatomy Study: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation

Rectus Femoris Anatomy Origin: Straight head: from the anterior inferior iliac spine
Reflected head:
on a curved line along the upper part of the acetabulum at the ilium

Insertion: The quadriceps tendon along with the three vasti muscles, enveloping the patella then by the patellar ligament into the tibial tuberosity.
Action: Extension of the leg at the knee
Innervation: Posterior division of the femoral nerve (L3 – 4)
Blood Supply: Femoral artery and branches from the profunda femoris artery.

Synergist: Gluteus Maximus, Piriformis, Obturator Externus, Obturator Internus, Superior and Inferior Gemelli

Antagonist: Gluteus Minimus, Tensor Fasciae Latae


Primary Action of the Rectus Femoris: 

1. Extension of the leg at the knee

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


For information on pain and symptom see:  Rectus Femoris Muscle: Thigh, Knee Pain

Anatomy Study Aids

Musculoskeletal Anatomy Flashcards

Musculoskeletal Flashcards

Are you a student or professional therapist who needs to brush up on the musculoskeletal system? Dr. Joseph E. Muscolino DC has developed a comprehensive set of flashcards that will help develop a mind’s picture of exactly where the muscles lie under the skin. A highly recommended study aid!

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.


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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