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Sartorius Muscle

The sartorius muscle is a long, slim, superficially running muscle, formally belonging to the extensors of the thigh.

Recommended video: Sartorius muscle
Origin, insertion, innervation and functions of the sartorius muscle.

Anatomy and supply

It originates from the anterior superior iliac spine of the pelvic bone and runs spirally towards the knee region. There it inserts at the pes anserinus medially from the tibial tuberosity. In its entire course the muscle is covered by a fascial duplication of the fascia lata.

The innervation is supplied by the femoral nerve (L2-L4).

Sartorius Muscle

Topographically the sartorius muscle forms the lateral border of the femoral triangle (Scarpa’s triangle) where the large vessels of the thigh pass through. For this reason the muscle serves as a leading structure when surgically accessing the femoral artery.


The sartorius muscle is a two-joint muscle and moves both the hip and knee joint. Even though anatomically it ranks among the extensors of the thigh its contraction truly causes a flexion of the hip joint. This is because it is located in the ventral (extensor) compartment of the thigh. In addition, it is involved in the abduction and outward rotation of the hip joint.

In the knee joint, it forces a flexion and inward rotation. The flexion movement is the result of the tendon inserting at the knee joint behind the flexion-extension axis. When all five movements are executed simultaneously the legs would cross like in a tailor seat. Therefore, the “tailor’s muscle” is most easily palpable in this position.

Recommended video: Functions of sartorius muscle
Functions and anatomy of the sartorius muscle shown with 3D model animation.

Clinical aspects

The pes anserine bursa located at the insertion of the sartorius muscle can become inflammed (pes anserine bursitis) when chronically overstrained (e.g. when jogging or breaststroking).

Common symptoms are pain, swelling and a functional impairment of the three muscles inserting at the pes anserinus (sartorius, semitendinosus and gracilis muscle). If the inflammation is overseen or poorly treated (rest, cooling, pain medication, local corticoid injection if necessary) the bursitis often becomes chronic.

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Show references


  • M. Schünke, E. Schulte, U. Schumacher: Prometheus – LernAtlas der Anatomie – Allgemeine Anatomie und Bewegungssystem, 2.Auflage, Thieme Verlag (2007), S.476
  • W. Graumann, D. Sasse: CompactLehrbuch der gesamten Anatomie – Band 2 – Bewegungsapparat, Schattauer Verlag (2003), S.164, 169-170
  • R. Wirhed: Sportanatomie – Bewegungslehre, 3.Auflage, Schattauer Verlag (2001), S.12
  • L. Fischer, E. T. Peuker: Lehrbuch Integrative Schmerztherapie, Thieme Verlag (2011), S.403


  • Achudhan Karunaharamoorthy


  • Sartorius Muscle - Liene Znotina 
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Related Atlas Images

Muscles of the hip and thigh

Main muscles of the lower extremity

Muscles of the leg and knee

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