Gracilis Muscle Anatomy

Overview
Origin Ischiopubic ramus
Insertion Medial surface of proximal tibia (pes anserinus)
Action Adduction of thigh
Flexion of hip and knee
Medial rotation of the hip and knee
Nerve Anterior branch of obturator nerve (L2, L3, L4)
Artery Medial circumflex femoral artery
Superficial femoral artery
Deep femoral artery
Descending genicular artery
Anterior branch of the obturator artery

Location & Overview

The gracilis is a superficial muscle (close to the skin’s surface) located on the medial (inner) side of the thigh. The insertion of the gracilis is part of the pes anserinus. The pes anserinus is a name for the collection of three tendons which attach on the proximal tibia. The three muscles are: the gracilis, the semitendinosus and the sartorius. Pes anserinus translates from Latin into ‘goose foot’ as the three tendons connect in a three-pronged manner at the location where it connects to the tibia. This looks somewhat like a ‘goose foot’ [1] [2] [3].

gracilis muscle pictured from a superficial view

Here we can see the gracilis muscle pictured from a superficial view.

gracilis muscle in isolation

Here we can see the gracilis muscle in isolation.

Origin & Insertion

The gracilis originates on the ischiopubic ramus of the hip bone and works its way down the inner leg to insert on the medial surface of proximal tibia (just below the knee on the inner side) [4] [5].

origin of the gracilis

The origin of the gracilis is highlighted in red at the ischiopubic ramus.

insertion of the gracilis

The insertion of the gracilis is highlighted in blue at the medial surface of proximal tibia and is one of the three muscles of the pes anserinus.

Actions

The main role of the gracilis muscle is adduction of the hip joint. It also assists in flexion of the knee, flexion of the hip and medial rotation of the hip and knee [6] [7].

Innervation

The gracilis is innervated by the anterior branch of obturator nerve (L2, L3, L4) [8].

Blood Supply

Blood is supplied from the medial circumflex femoral artery, superficial femoral artery, deep femoral artery, descending genicular artery and the anterior branch of the obturator artery [9].

Want some flashcards to help you remember this information? Then click the link below:
Gracilis flashcards

References

References
1, 4, 7, 9 Khan IA, Bordoni B, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Thigh Gracilis Muscle. [Updated 2021 Jul 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538229/
2, 5, 8 Moore KL, Agur AMR, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins; 2017.
3 Mohseni M, Graham C. Pes Anserine Bursitis. [Updated 2021 Jul 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532941/
6 Standring S. (2015). Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice, 41st Edn. Amsterdam: Elsevier.