Vastus Lateralis Muscle Anatomy

Overview
Origin Greater trochanter
Intertrochanteric line
Lateral aspect of the linea aspera
Gluteal tuberosity
Lateral intermuscular septum
Insertion Lateral aspect of the patella
The quadriceps tendon, which inserts into the patellar tendon, which connects onto the tibial tuberosity
Action Knee extension
Nerve Femoral nerve (L2, L3, L4)
Artery Lateral circumflex femoral artery
Perforating arteries of the profunda femoris

Location & Overview

The vastus lateralis is located in the anterior compartment of the thigh. It is one of the four quadricep muscles. It is the most lateral and largest of these quadricep muscles. The other three quadricep muscles are: the vastus intermedius, vastus medialis and rectus femoris [1] [2].

the vastus lateralis muscle from a superficial view

Here we can see the vastus lateralis muscle from a superficial view.

vastus lateralis muscle

Here we can see the vastus lateralis muscle in isolation.

Origin & Insertion

The vastus lateralis originates on the femur’s greater trochanter, intertrochanteric line, lateral aspect of the linea aspera, gluteal tuberosity, and the lateral intermuscular septum [3]. The lateral intermuscular septum of the thigh is a fold of deep fascia which separates the anterior compartment of the thigh from the posterior compartment of the thigh. The lateral intermuscular septum divides the vastus lateralis and the biceps femoris muscle which is where it provides this origin point [4].

The vastus lateralis inserts into the quadriceps tendon. The quadriceps tendon inserts on patellar tendon which inserts onto the tibial tuberosity. In addition to the patellar tendon, the vastus lateralis also inserts onto the lateral aspect of the patella [5].

anterior origins of the vastus lateralis highlighted in red

Here we can see the anterior origins of the vastus lateralis, highlighted in red, on the anterior side of the femur (greater trochanter and intertrochanteric line).

posterior origins of the vastus lateralis highlighted in red

Here we can see the posterior origins of the vastus lateralis, highlighted in red, on the posterior side of the femur (lateral aspect of the linea aspera, gluteal tuberosity, and lateral intermuscular septum).

patella insertion of the vastus lateralis

Here we can see an insertion of the vastus lateralis, highlighted in blue, on lateral side of the patellar.

patellar tendon insertion of the vastus lateralis

Here we can see the insertion of the patellar tendon at the tibial tuberosity. The vastus lateralis inserts into the quadriceps tendon which then inserts into the patellar tendon.

Actions

The vastus lateralis muscle is a primary extender of the knee. It also works together with the vastus medialis to stabilise the knee joint. [6].

Innervation

The vastus lateralis muscle is innervated by the femoral nerve. The nerve roots involved are L2, L3 and L4. [7].

Blood Supply

The vastus lateralis primarily gets its blood supply from the lateral circumflex femoral artery. It also receives some blood from the perforating arteries of the profunda femoris [8].

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Vastus Lateralis Flashcards

References

References
1, 6 Bordoni B, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Thigh Quadriceps Muscle. 2021 Jul 22. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 30020706.
2 Khan A, Arain A. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Anterior Thigh Muscles. 2021 Jul 26. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 30860696.
3, 5, 7, 8 Biondi NL, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Vastus Lateralis Muscle. [Updated 2021 Aug 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532309/
4 Hayashi A, Maruyama Y. Lateral intermuscular septum of the thigh and short head of the biceps femoris muscle: an anatomic investigation with new clinical applications. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2001 Nov;108(6):1646-54. doi: 10.1097/00006534-200111000-00032. PMID: 11711941.