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Biceps femoris muscle

Biceps femoris
Lateral aspect of right leg. Biceps femoris muscle long head labeled
Same picture with the visible part of the short head beneath the long head labeled
Latin musculus biceps femoris
Gray's subject #128 478
Origin: tuberosity of the ischium, linea aspera, femur
Insertion: the head of the fibula which articulates with the back of the lateral tibial condyle
Artery: inferior gluteal artery, perforating arteries, popliteal artery
Nerve: long head: tibial nerve
short head: common peroneal nerve
Action: flexes knee joint, laterally rotates knee joint (when knee is flexed), extends hip joint (long head only)
Antagonist: Quadriceps muscle
Dorlands/Elsevier m_22/12548483

The biceps femoris is a muscle of the posterior thigh. As its name implies, it has two parts, one of which (the long head) forms part of the hamstrings muscle group.


Origin and insertion

It has two heads of origin;

  • one, the long head, arises from the lower and inner impression on the back part of the tuberosity of the ischium, by a tendon common to it and the semitendinosus, and from the lower part of the sacrotuberous ligament;
  • the other, the short head, arises from the lateral lip of the linea aspera, between the adductor magnus and vastus lateralis, extending up almost as high as the insertion of the gluteus maximus; from the lateral prolongation of the linea aspera to within 5 cm. of the lateral condyle; and from the lateral intermuscular septum.

The fibers of the long head form a fusiform belly, which passes obliquely downward and lateralward across the sciatic nerve to end in an aponeurosis which covers the posterior surface of the muscle, and receives the fibers of the short head; this aponeurosis becomes gradually contracted into a tendon, which is inserted into the lateral side of the head of the fibula, and by a small slip into the lateral condyle of the tibia.

At its insertion the tendon divides into two portions, which embrace the fibular collateral ligament of the knee-joint.

From the posterior border of the tendon a thin expansion is given off to the fascia of the leg. The tendon of insertion of this muscle forms the lateral hamstring; the common peroneal nerve descends along its medial border.


Both heads of the Bicep Femoris perform knee flexion. Since the long head originates in the pelvis it is also involved in hip extension. The long head of the bicep femoris is a weaker knee flexor when the hip is extended (because of active insufficiency). For the same reason the long head is a weaker hip extender when the knee is flexed.

When the knee is semi flexed, the Biceps femoris in consequence of its oblique direction rotates the leg slightly outward


The short head may be absent; additional heads may arise from the ischial tuberosity, the linea aspera, the medial supracondylar ridge of the femur, or from various other parts.

A slip may pass to the gastrocnemius.

Additional images

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Biceps_femoris_muscle". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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