German Contact How to study Login Register

Register now and grab your free ultimate anatomy study guide!

Sidebar ebook trimmed

Iliopsoas Muscle

The iliopsoas muscle belongs to the inner hip muscles.


It comprises a complex of two muscles with different areas of origin. This muscle belongs to the striated musculature and the innervation is carried by the femoral nerve as well as direct branches of the lumbar plexus.

Iliopsoas muscle - ventral view

Iliopsoas muscle - ventral view

The iliopsoas muscle consists of:

  • Psoas major muscle - originates from the bodies of the vertebrae T12-L4 and the costal processes of the vertebrae L1-L5. (The muscle inserts at the lesser trochanter of the femur, as the iliopsoas muscle).
  • Iliacus muscle - runs from the iliac fossa to the lesser trochanter.

Iliacus muscle - ventral view

Iliacus muscle - ventral view

Relations & Location

The psoas major and iliacus muscle unify in the lateral pelvis shortly before the inguinal ligament, becoming the iliopsoas muscle. There they pass below the inguinal ligament through the muscular lacuna together with the femoral nerve. Both muscles are completely surrounded by the iliac fascia. The lumbar plexus lies dorsally from the psoas major muscle which is penetrated by the genitofemoral nerve. Medially from the psoas major runs the sympathetic trunk.

Recommended video: Iliopsoas muscle
Origins, insertions, innervation and functions of the iliopsoas muscle.


The iliopsoas muscle is the strongest flexor of the hip joint (important walking muscle). In the supine position it decisively supports the straightening of the upper body (e.g. during sit-ups). Furthermore it rotates the thigh laterally. A unilateral contraction leads to a lateral flexion of the lumbar vertebrae column. Altogether the iliopsoas muscle plays a significant role in the movement and stabilization of the pelvis.

Clinical Aspects

Abrupt movements (e.g. shooting the soccer ball) and overload may cause an inflammation of the tendon or the associated bursa (iliopsoas syndrome). A pathological shortening of the muscle leads to hyperlordosis of the lumbar vertebrae column over the long term due to unnatural and incorrect strain.

In rare cases an abscess (e.g. in bacterial spondylodiscitis) can spread within the iliac fascia and the muscle compartment until it reaches the lesser trochanter (psoas abscess).

Get me the rest of this article for free
Create your account and you'll be able to see the rest of this article, plus videos and a quiz to help you memorize the information, all for free. You'll also get access to articles, videos, and quizzes about dozens of other anatomy systems.
Create your free account ➞
Show references


  • D. Drenckhahn/J. Waschke: Taschenbuch Anatomie, 1.Auflage, Urban & Fischer Verlag/Elsevier (2008), S.76-77
  • M. Schünke/E. Schulte/U. Schumacher: Prometheus – LernAtlas der Anatomie – Allgemeine Anatomie und Bewegungssystem, 2.Auflage, Thieme Verlag (2007), S.152-153, 202
  • J. Weineck: Sportanatomie, 16.Auflage, Spitta Verlag (2003), S.152-154
  • A. Stäbler/B. Erlt-Wanger: Radiologie-Trainer, 11.Auflage, Thieme Verlag (2006), S.145

Author & Layout:

  • Achudhan Karunaharamoorthy
  • Christopher A. Becker


  • Iliopsoas muscle - ventral view - Liene Znotina
  • Iliacus muscle - ventral view - Liene Znotina
© Unless stated otherwise, all content, including illustrations are exclusive property of Kenhub GmbH, and are protected by German and international copyright laws. All rights reserved.

Related Atlas Images

Muscles of the hip and thigh

Pelvis and femur

Urinary bladder level

Continue your learning

Article (You are here)
Other articles
Well done!

Register now and grab your free ultimate anatomy study guide!

Sidebar ebook trimmed
Create your free account.
Start learning anatomy in less than 60 seconds.