Rectus Femoris: Definition, Anatomy, and Strain Symptoms

Rectus Femoris: Definition, Anatomy, and Strain Symptoms
All About Rectus Femoris That You Need to Know - Photo by WolfBlur from Pixabay
SHARE - The rectus femoris is a muscle part of the quadriceps group. The word rectus is a Latin word that means “straight”. It's named after the word as it runs straight down the thigh.

It is the majority of the muscles located in the upper-middle and front of the thigh. It is also the only muscle in the quadriceps group that passes through the hip.

This muscle is overlying of the vastus intermedius muscle and superior-medial part of Vastus lateralis and Vastus medialis. In relation to the contralateral side, the femoral rectus may contribute to a higher positioned patella.

Want to learn more about rectus femoris? Scroll down to learn more about the rectus femoral origin, insertion, blood supply, relation, and also pain caused around the muscle.

Rectus Femoris Origin and Insertion

All About Rectus Femoris That You Need to Know - Photo by rmk081000 from Flickr

The vastus medialis muscle originates from several parts of the proximal femur. They are the pectineal line of femur, the proximal femur, the medial lip of linea asperathe inferior part of the intertrochanteric line, and proximal half of the medial supracondylar line. The muscle tilts down through the thighs, and its fibers spiral around the long axis of the muscle.

For the lowermost fibers, they are located in an almost horizontal plane, forming a bulge that is significantly higher than the inside of the patella bone. This often refers to the specific part of the gastrocnemius muscle as the oblique muscle.

And lastly, the muscle is inserted into the base of the bone through the quadriceps tendon. Some of its tendon fibers continue downward and insert into the medial condyle of the tibia.

Rectus Femoris Relations and Blood Supply

The proximal part of the rectus femoris is located deep in the tensor fasciae latae, sartorius, and iliacus muscles. All the contents of the thigh anterior chamber are located deep in the rectus femoris muscle.

Those include the hip joint capsule, the vastus intermedius, lateral circumflex femoral artery, anterior margins of vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius, and also certain branches of the femoral nerve.

The rectus femoris muscle gets the blood supplied by the quadriceps artery in which it can come from three sources. They are femoral, deep femoral, or lateral circumflex femoral artery. The super superficial gyrus arteries and lateral circumflex femoral also contribute to the blood supply of the rectus femoris, but lesser.

Rectus Femoris Pain

All About Rectus Femoris That You Need to Know - Photo by WolfBlur from Pixabay

Among the quadriceps, the rectus femoris is the most frequent to get strained. The most common areas of rectus femoris muscle to get strained are the muscle-tendon junctions located above the knee and the muscle itself.

This can happen by several factors. These factors then lead the muscle to injury, while others cause more frequent strain. These are the most common factors of the strains:

  • There is a violent contraction happening in the quadriceps.
  • There is a sudden deceleration happening in the leg area. 
  • There is a rapid deceleration happening in the area of overstretched muscle. It happens quickly in the change of direction.

Depending on the severity of the injury, the strain level is divided from 1 to 3 symptoms. Level 1 is mild, and level 3 is a level involving nearly complete muscle tear or even the completely torn one.

  • Grade 1 symptoms

The symptoms of grade 1 quadriceps strain are not severe. It won't stop you from training. But, the thighs may feel tangled and overall tightness.

Some athletes may experience a mild discomfort level in walking and also running, but there may be no swelling found. There is usually a lump or cramp in the injured area.

  • Grade 2 symptoms

When running, jumping, or kicking, the athlete who suffers from the grade 2 symptoms may suddenly feel severe pain in the area. It will hard to only bending the knee. They are unable to continue some heavy training from the pain. It's even difficult to just walk and may find swelling.

Straightening the strained knee may also cause pain during the strain. When you press on the area of the quadriceps strain, you will feel pain. 

  • Grade 3 symptoms

The 3 Grade symptoms include a severe injury. There is a sudden pain happening in the front of the thigh. The injured athletes usually are asked to take full rest at least for several months. They are not allowed to join any competition during the rest. Without the help of crutches, the patient will not be able to walk.


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