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Semimembranosus muscle
Muscles of the gluteal and posterior femoral regions (semimembranosus labeled at bottom left)
Cross-section trough the thigh
(semimembranosus labeled at bottom right)
Latin Musculus semimembranosus
Gray's subject #128 479
Origin Ischial tuberosity
Insertion    Medial surface of tibia
Artery Profunda femoris and gluteal arteries
Nerve Tibial part of sciatic nerve
(L5, S1 and S2)
Actions Extension of hip and flexion of knee
Antagonist Quadriceps muscle

The semimembranosus is a muscle in the back of the thigh. It is the most medial of the three hamstring muscles.


The semimembranosus, so called from its membranous tendon of origin, is situated at the back and medial side of the thigh.

Its origin is the ischial tuberosity and it inserts on the medial condyle and nearby margin of tibia; intercondylar line and lateral condyle of femur; and the ligament of popliteal region. It arises by a thick tendon from the upper and outer impression on the tuberosity of the ischium, above and medial to the biceps femoris and semitendinosus.

The tendon of origin expands into an aponeurosis, which covers the upper part of the anterior surface of the muscle; from this aponeurosis muscular fibers arise, and converge to another aponeurosis which covers the lower part of the posterior surface of the muscle and contracts into the tendon of insertion.

It is inserted mainly into the horizontal groove on the posterior medial aspect of the medial condyle of the tibia.

The tendon of insertion gives off certain fibrous expansions: one, of considerable size, passes upward and laterally to be inserted into the posterior lateral condyle of the femur, forming part of the oblique popliteal ligament of the knee-joint; a second is continued downward to the fascia which covers the Popliteus muscle; while a few fibers join the tibial collateral ligament of the joint and the fascia of the leg.

The muscle overlaps the upper part of the popliteal vessels.


The semimembranosus is innervated by the tibial nerve, a branch of the sciatic nerve. The tibial nerve consists of the anterior divisions of ventral nerve roots from L4 through S3. These nerve roots are part of a larger nerve network called the sacral plexus.[1] The tibial nerve is also responsible for innervating the skin of the posterior leg as well as plantar skin.


The semimembranosus helps to extend (straighten) the hip joint and flex (bend) the knee joint.

It also helps medially rotate the knee: the tibia medially rotates on the femur when the knee is flexed. Medially rotates the femur when the hip is extended. The muscle can also aid in counteracting the forward bending at the hip joint.[1]


It may be reduced or absent, or double, arising mainly from the sacrotuberous ligament and giving a slip to the femur or adductor magnus.

Additional images

See also


This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.

External links

  • LUC semm
  • 14:st-0408
  • thigh."
  • popliteal fossa."
  • knee/surface/surface4
  • PTCentral
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