Pectineus Muscle Anatomy

UPDATE: The above video mentions internal rotation as an action and does not mention external rotation. Following a review of more recent published research, the pectineus muscle may contribute extremely weakly to internal/external rotation of the hip but more likely plays a dynamic stability role during rotation. More info and references in the ‘actions’ section of this page.

Overview
Origin Pectineal line of pubis (on the superior pubic ramus)
Insertion Pectineal line of femur (just inferior to lesser trochanter)
Action Adduction of hip joint
Flexion of hip joint
May contribute to internal/external rotation of the hip but more likely plays a dynamic stability role during rotation
Nerve Femoral nerve (L2, L3)
May also receive a branch from the obturator nerve
Artery Obturator artery

Location & Overview

The pectineus muscle is located in the medial (inner) portion of the superior (upper) portion of the thigh. It ia flat and quadrangular-shaped. Its primary purpose is to cause adduction at the hip (moving your thigh/femur inwards) [1].

pectineus muscle

Here we can see the pectineus muscle.

pectineus muscle from an anterior superficial view

Here we can see the pectineus muscle from an anterior superficial view.

Origin & Insertion

The pectineus muscle originates on the pectineal line of the pubic bone (a ridge on the superior pubic ramus). It then inserts on the pectineal line of the femur, which is just inferior to lesser trochanter [2] [3] [4]. Images of these are at the bottom of the page.

origin of the pectineus muscle

Here we can see the origin of the pectineus muscle highlighted in red.

insertion of the pectineus muscle

Here we can see the insertion of the pectineus muscle highlighted in blue.

Actions

The pectineus muscle’s primary actions are adduction of the hip joint and flexion of the hip joint [5] [6] [7].

Some research also discusses external and internal rotation being a potential function for the pectineus [8] [9]. However, these studies concluded that the pectineus is likely involved in dynamic stability/stabilisation during internal/external rotation of the femur rather than directly contributing to rotation. The pectineus attaches to the pectineal line of the femur, which is towards its medial side and slightly on the posterior of the femur. Therefore, if the pectineus does contribute anything meaningful to internal/external rotation, it would internally rotate when the femur is in an externally rotated position or externally rotate when the femur is in an internally rotated position.

If there is any contribution to direct rotation from the pectineus in either direction is extremely weak (to the point researchers aren’t even 100% sure if it directly contributes). It is more likely that the pectineus just provides stability during rotation rather than directly causing it.

Innervation

The pectineus muscle is innervated by the femoral nerve (L2, L3) and sometimes the obturator nerve [10].

Blood Supply

Blood is supplied to the pectineus via the obturator artery [11].

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

References

References
1, 10 Kim H, Nam YS. Variation of pectineus muscle forming a hiatus. Anat Sci Int. 2021;96(3):481-484. doi:10.1007/s12565-020-00593-5
2, 6 Moore KL, Agur AMR, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins; 2017.
3 Standring S. Gray’s anatomy : the anatomical basis of clinical practice. Saint Louis: Elsevier; 2016
4, 7 Kiel J, Kaiser K. Adductor Strain. [Updated 2021 Jul 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493166/
5 Ransom AL, Sinkler MA, Nallamothu SV. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Femoral Muscles. [Updated 2021 Oct 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500008/
8 Decker MJ, Krong J, Hageman LR, Torry MR, Philippon MJ, Steadman. Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society, 2010. Hip Rotation Function of the Pectineus Muscle. [online] (Poster No. 1607). Available from: http://www.ors.org/Transactions/56/1607.pdf [Accessed 15 June 2022].
9 Giphart JE, Stull JD, Laprade RF, Wahoff MS, Philippon MJ. Recruitment and activity of the pectineus and piriformis muscles during hip rehabilitation exercises: an electromyography study. Am J Sports Med. 2012 Jul;40(7):1654-63. doi: 10.1177/0363546512443812. Epub 2012 Apr 20. PMID: 22523373.
11 Arias DG, Marappa-Ganeshan R. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Arteries. [Updated 2021 Jul 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544319/