The muscle that activates the longest while running?  It is the popliteal.  Here's what you need to know

With Fisiorunning we go to the discovery of the popliteal, a fundamental muscle for running and locomotion, considered the “key” to unlocking the knee

Dario Domeniconi

Despite its limited size and strength the popliteal it controls and governs the correct dynamics of the knee by influencing the posture of the tibia and foot below and that of the femur and pelvis above.

Where is the popliteal muscle located anatomically

The popliteal is a small, flat, triangular muscle located in the posterolateral area of ​​the knee. It originates from three points: the femoral condyle, the fibula head and the lateral meniscus. To fit on the posterior aspect of the tibia, between the soleus and the medial twin. It therefore constitutes, together with the iliotibial band (that of the famous bandelletta syndrome) the lateral musculature of the knee. Becoming the main posterolateral stabilizer of the knee.

What role does the popliteal muscle play during running

During the race the popliteal has multiple functions. Think of it in the cycle of running it is the muscle that is active for longer than all other leg muscles. For this it has a dual function depending on the type of load on the tibia. With the foot resting on the extra wheel, rotate the femur, in the initial stages of knee flexion. Instead it becomes an internal rotator of the tibia in the flight phase of the leg. Furthermore adjusts the release of the knee in extension. Its contraction causes flexion and lateral rotation of the femur on the tibia. Becoming the “release key” of the extended knee. In addition, during knee flexion, it pulls the lateral meniscus to prevent it from getting trapped between the femur and tibia.

Popliteal pathologies in a runner

Like all muscles and above all due to its high efficiency as a knee controller it can, fortunately rarely, encounter lesions of various degrees of its muscle fibers. We could therefore have a strong contracture, a strain, a tear or a complete break caused only by a strong knee sprain. More frequently, runners stimulate the popliteal insertion tendon, facilitating one tendinopathy or one tenosynovitis which are often confused with a meniscal tear, a band or a proximal hamstring tendinosis. In the coming weeks we will analyze these pathologies in a more specific way, addressing their symptomatic, predisposing and preventive characteristics with Fisiorunning. Finally we will learn the path of rehabilitation and return to running. Do not miss.



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