Leg muscles consist of a majority of long muscles, which help in long stretching distances. The legs in mammals and human beings are the lower limbs of the body that provide support and movement for the individual. There are various kinds of muscles in a leg, depending on the part of the leg. In the following article, we will learn about different types of leg muscles, based on the parts of the legs namely, thigh, knee, ankle, feet and so on.
Parts of Leg Muscles
The anatomy of legs can be divided into upper leg muscles and lower leg muscles.
1) Upper Leg Muscles: Upper leg muscles consist of hamstrings, quadriceps and adductors.
- Hamstrings: The hamstrings are the three muscles located at the back of the thigh. These muscles allow the knees to flex and bend. The three hamstring muscles are semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris. The semimembranosus muscle is attached to the pelvis and tibia through tendons. It helps the legs to flex and rotate.
The semitendinosus muscle helps to rotate the tibia on the femur when the knee is flexed, and rotate the femur when the hip is extended. The biceps femoris muscle helps in extending the thigh, bending the knee and rotating the knee outside the body.
- Quadriceps: The quadriceps consists of four muscles situated on the front of the thigh. The quadriceps help to straighten the knee from a bend position. The four muscles of quadriceps are vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and rectus femoris.
The vastus lateralis muscle helps to extend the lower leg, and helps us rise from a squatting position. The vastus medialis and the vastus intermedius muscle helps in knee extension. The rectus femoris muscle helps in extending or raising the knee and is also used to flex the thigh. The rectus femoris is the only muscle that can flex the hip.
- Adductors: The adductor muscle consists of four muscles located inside of the thigh. They let the thighs bind together. The four adductor muscles are adductor magnus, adductor longus, adductor brevis, obturator externus and gracilis.
The adductor magnus contracts and pulls the hip towards the body’s midline, which enables activities like walking, sprinting, etc. The adductor longus is a skeleton located in the thigh.
The adductor brevis helps to adduct the thigh at the hip joint and helps to flex and rotate the thigh. The obturator externus muscle, along with other short muscles at the hip joint, helps in joint stability. The gracilis muscle is found in the groin, and is responsible for hip adduction and knee flexion.
2) The Knee: The knee connects the upper leg and lower legs. It consists of knee ligaments, knee bones and knee tendons.
3) The Lower Leg: The lower leg consists of five types of muscles namely, gastrocnemius, soleus, plantaris, tibialis muscles and peroneus muscles.
The gastrocnemius muscles are one of the primary muscles of the calves. These muscles allow a movement that helps the toes to point downward. The soleus muscles run below the heel to the knee and aid in walking and standing.
The plantaris muscle is a small muscle at the back of the lower leg. The tibialis muscles are situated in the front and back part of the lower leg. The peroneus muscles are situated only in the front part of the lower leg.
Some of the primary foot muscles are extensors, flexors, tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior and tibialis peroneal.
With this, we learn the various parts of legs muscles and how they affect our various movements. Almost all the muscles in the leg are long muscles that help human beings to stretch a great amount of distance.
Frequently Asked Questions on Leg Muscles
Why do leg muscles cramp?
Conditions like dehydration, over exertion, and straining the muscles results in cramping of leg muscles.
How do you build leg muscles?
By following physical regimes like squatting, deadlifts, leg press and so on, one can strengthen their leg muscles.
What is the name of the biggest leg muscle?
The quadriceps is the biggest leg muscle in the body and is made up of calves and thighs.
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