The popliteal fossa (sometimes referred to as the hough, or kneepit in analogy to the armpit) is a shallow depression located at the back of the knee joint. The bones of the popliteal fossa are the femur and the tibia. Like other flexion surfaces of large joints (groin, armpit, cubital fossa and essentially the anterior part of the neck), it is an area where blood vessels and nerves pass relatively superficially, and with an increased amount of lymph nodes.
Lateral aspect of right leg
Lymph glands of popliteal fossa
The boundaries of the fossa are:
|Superior||superior and medial:
the semimembranosus & semitendinosus muscles
|superior and lateral:|
the biceps femoris muscle
|Inferior||inferior and medial:
the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle
|inferior and lateral:|
the lateral head of the gastrocnemius muscle and plantaris muscle
The roof is formed by (from superficial to deep):
The floor is formed by:
Structures within the popliteal fossa include, (from superficial to deep):
- tibial nerve
- common fibular nerve (also known as the common peroneal nerve)
- popliteal vein
- popliteal artery, a continuation of the femoral artery
- small saphenous vein (termination)
- Popliteal lymph nodes and Dharmy vessels
It is of note that the common fibular nerve also begins at the superior angle of the popliteal fossa.
- Buckenmaier III C; Bleckner L (2008). "Chapter 20: Popliteal nerve block" (PDF). The Military Advanced Regional Anesthesia and Analgesia Handbook. Rockville, Maryland: Defense & Veterans Pain Management Initiative (DVPMI). Retrieved 2011-06-08.
- Clinically Oriented Anatomy by Moore, 6th edition