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Sartorius Muscle


Anatomy and supply

The sartorius muscle is a long, slim, superficially running extensor of the thigh musculature. 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 (L2-4).

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 its insertion at the knee joint is located behind the flexion-extension axis. 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. 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.


The pes anserine bursa located at the insertion of the sartorius muscle can inflame (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.

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
  • Picture: kenHub

Author: Achudhan Karunaharamoorthy

© 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.
Dashboard pelvis and femur
Hip and thigh
The bony framework of the hip and thigh is defined by the bony pelvis and femur. Many structures attach to and pass alongside these bones, and will be explored on this...
Video count 22 Quiz count 8 Atlas count 98 Article count 85
Pelvis and Femur
Muscles of the hip and thigh
Neurovasculature of the hip and thigh
Inner hip muscles
Muscle Facts
Gluteal muscles
Muscle Facts
Anterior thigh muscles
Muscle Facts
Posterior thigh muscles
Muscle Facts
Adductors of the thigh
Muscle Facts
Dashboard tibia and fibula
Knee and leg
The knee joint is found between the thigh and the lower leg. Many structures belong to this area of the body, including the tibia and fibula, and will be seen on this ...
Video count 9 Quiz count 5 Atlas count 72 Article count 59
Tibia and Fibula
Muscles of the leg and knee
Neurovasculature of the leg and knee
Anterior and lateral muscles of the leg
Muscle Facts
Posterior muscles of the leg
Muscle Facts

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