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Hip adductors

Overview of the anatomy of the adductors of the hip.

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Hey, everyone! It’s Matt from Kenhub, and this tutorial focuses on a group of muscles called the hip adductors.

This group is part of the inner hip musculature and ranges from the lower pelvic bone to the femur and knee region so lying in between the extensor and flexor group of the thigh muscles. The hip adductors shape the surface anatomy of the medial thigh. The innervation is mainly supplied by the obturator nerve which arises from the lumbar plexus and reaches the adductors through the obturator canal. Two muscles have a double innervation.

The hip adductors are as follows: The pectineus muscle runs from the pectineal line of the superior pubic ramus to the pectineal line and the linea aspera of the femur. It is additionally innervated by the femoral nerve. The adductor magnus muscle is one of the biggest muscles of the human body. It originates at the inferior pubic ramus, the ischial ramus and the ischial tuberosity and inserts both at the linea aspera, the fleshy insertion, and the medial epicondyle tendinous insertion. The superficial part of the adductor magnus is supplied by the tibial nerve.

The adductor longus muscle has its origin at the superior pubic ramus and the pubic symphysis and insertion at the linea aspera. Distally, it forms an aponeurosis extending to the vastus medialis muscle. The adductor brevis muscle originates at the inferior pubic ramus and inserts at the linea aspera. And the adductor minimus muscle describes the inconstant cranial separation of the adductor magnus which is found in many people. It extends from the inferior pubic ramus to the linea aspera. The gracilis muscle runs from the inferior border of the pubic symphysis to the superficial pes anserinus of the tibia. Its tendon is easy to palpate in the inguinal region, together with the tendon of the adductor longus muscle.

Both the femoral artery and vein as well as the saphenous nerve proceed within a group between the adductor magnus, adductor longus and vastus medialis muscles. This so-called adductor canal, also known as the Hunter’s canal, is ventrally covered by the vastoadductorial membrane. Distally, it ends between the fleshy and tendinous insertion of the adductor magnus and leads to the popliteal fossa.

As the name suggests, the main function of the hip adductors is the adduction of the hip joint. Furthermore, it supports the outward rotation – pectineus, adductor brevis, and adductor magnus; inward rotation – tendinous insertion of the adductor magnus; flexion – all; and extension – tendinous insertion of the adductor magnus. Being the only two-joint adductor, the gracilis muscle moves the knee joint as well where its contraction causes a flexion and inward rotation. The hip adductors are particularly used when crossing one’s legs. Overall, they play an important role in balancing the pelvis during standing and walking.

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