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Thigh anterior compartment muscles
Other Terms: Anterior femoral muscles
Four of the six muscles in the large anterior compartment (embryonic posterior muscles) share a common attachment to the anterior tibia. These four muscles, referred to as the quadriceps femoris, form the strong quadriceps tendon that surrounds all but the posterior surface of the patella. Through their relationship with the patella the quadriceps gains improved mechanical advantage to produce the powerful extension action of the knee. As the sole extensors of the knee, the quadriceps muscles are essential for running, jumping, and kicking. Another muscle in the group, the sartorius, which is the longest muscle in the body, differs from the other muscles by joining with the gracilis muscle in a pulley-like course around the medial condyle of the knee. Notice the interesting course of this muscle from its origin to its insertion. The combined actions of the sartorius muscles place the lower limbs in a yoga-like (crossed-leg) sitting position. This was a position used by sartors (tailors) in days gone by; therefore, the name sartorius or the tailor muscle. All of the muscles in this compartment receive their innervation via the femoral nerve from the posterior divisions of the lumbar plexus.