The muscles of the lower extremity are organized in functional groups within anatomically defined compartments. The understanding of this concept assists in understanding the functional anatomy of the lower extremity. It is also important to learn structural relationships because the diagnosis and assessment of injury is based on a knowledge of which structures are at risk in injuries or disease at specific sites.
The muscles, nerves, and vessels of the anterior compartment of the thigh (Steps 1 to 8) and medial compartment of the thigh (Steps 9 to 12) are studied in this laboratory exercise. Muscles of the anterior compartment function primarily in extension of the knee and flexion of the hip. Most of the muscles of the medial compartment function in adduction of the hip. In walking, the muscles of the medial compartment work in coordination with the abductors of the hip to maintain the horizontal position of the hip when the opposite extremity is lifted off the ground.