Rectus Femoris-The Incredible Facts: Detailed Overview

Rectus Femoris

Hello to my Medical community and the people who are looking for a descriptive study about Rectus femoris. I know a lot of medical students need to have comprehensive research related to body organs. Most people are looking for a kind of article that covers all the information in itself. Some people don’t want to study more, so they try to find it informative but not so comprehensive. I hope with my medical experience, this article will help all the people looking for the stuff regarding Rectus Femoris.

Most people don’t know about the parts of the body other than the common ones like arms, legs, hips, back, etc. These are only those who have studied anatomy, physiology, etc., in short, have a medical background. Before reading the whole article, you must know what the rectus femoris is. Where is it situated? What is the Function of the rectus femoris? And many more questions. I’m going to discuss everything regarding rectus femoris in this article. I hope this article will help you and give you the stuff you are looking for.

Rectus Femoris Muscle:

The Rectus femoris is a muscle that resides in the center of the front of the thigh. It is spindle-shaped, and the superficial fibers present in it are arranged in a manner of bipenniform, rectus down to the vast aponeurosis.

You can strengthen the rectus femoris by simply raising your legs. The rectus femoris muscle is a part of the quadriceps group. In the quadriceps group, it is the only muscle that crosses the hip. It is the superior, middle part of two; one is Vastus lateral and Vastus medial. Also, it is the overlaying of the Vastus intermedius. Here comes a question what are the Vastus lateral and vastus medial?

Vastus Lateral:

A muscle that is located on the oblique side of the thigh. This muscle is most significant in the quadriceps group, including rectus femoris, Vastus intermedius, and Vastus medial. The quadriceps act on the hip and the knee together to promote movement along with strength and stability.


Rectus Femoris:


The origin of this muscle is at the base of the greater trochanter, upper intertrochanteric line, lateral supracondylar ridge, lateral linea aspera, and lateral intermuscular septum.


Insertion is at the lateral quadriceps tendon, which is attached to the tibial tubercle.

Nerve supply:

The nerve supply is from the femoral nerve of the posterior division.

Blood supply:

Blood supply is from the lateral circumflex femoral artery.

Vastus medial:

The four muscles that make up the quadriceps group, one of them is vastus medial. It is originated from the upper part of the femoral shaft. The Function that inserts into the upper border of the patella also inserts as a flattened tendon into the quadriceps femoris tendon.


Rectus Femoris:


Origin is along the spiral line to the medial lip of the linea aspera, the lower part of the intertrochanteric line, the medial intermuscular septum, and the aponeurosis of adductor Magnus.


The insertion of vastus medial is into the medial side of the quadriceps tendon that joins with rectus femoris and other quadriceps muscles that envelop the patella by the patellar ligament tibial tuberosity.


Derived from L2, 3, and 4, it is a branch from the posterior division of the femoral nerve.


Branches from the profound femoris artery and femoral artery.


The primary function of the vastus medial is to extend the knee joint. This muscle functions together with the other muscles that make up the quadriceps femoris.

Rectus is a Latin word meaning ‘straight.’ The name rectus is given to this muscle because it runs straight down the thigh.

The Rectus femoris muscle is a two-way acting muscle as it crosses over the knee joint and the hip. This muscle contributes to 90 degrees of knee flexion and assists iliopsoas in hip flexion.

About the contralateral side, a short rectus femoris may contribute to a higher positioned patella.

Rectus femoris Origin:

Rectus Femoris

Anatomy of rectus femoris:

  • Origin:

This muscle originates from the anterior inferior iliac spine and the alar of the ilium superior to the acetabulum.

  • Insertion:

To insert the patella, the rectus femoris joins the quadriceps tendon and tibial tuberosity together with vastus medial, vastus lateral, and vastus intermedius.

  • Nerve supply:

Originating from the lumbar nerve 2, 3, and 4 nerve root, the rectus femoris is innervated by the femoral nerve.

  • Blood supply:

In the rectus femoris, blood is supplied via descending branch of the LCF (lateral circumflex femoral) artery.

The Function of rectus femoris:

  • To produce hip flexion rectus femoris acts with iliopsoas significantly when the knee is flexed.
  • During gait as a hip flexor, the Rectus femoris acts with the iliopsoas in the “Toe off” phase.
  • The rectus femoris muscle exhibits additional actions since it crosses both the hip and knee joints. By acting on the hip joint aside from extending the knee, it helps with thigh flexion, this muscle aids to flex the pelvis anteriorly towards the thigh when its patellar attachment is fixed.

Knee Extension:

  • With other muscles together that are part of the Quadriceps femoris, knee extension is facilitated.
  • The Rectus femoris acts as an extensor of the knee. The terminal swing phase generates the force needed for loading (foot flat phase) in the stance phase as a muscle in the quadriceps group.
  • In movement combining hip hyper-extension and knee flexion or from a position of knee extension rectus femoris is more efficient. An Example is kicking a soccer ball.


Rectus Femoris


As the rectus femoris is the most superior of the quadriceps muscles, it can be palpated. The Rectus femoris can be felt until its insertion into the quadriceps tendon by starting palpation at AIIS. You can ask the patient to iso-metrically contract quadriceps; this will help to identify the muscle belly.

Muscle Strength:

Posture the patient in sitting with the hip and knee flexed to 90° for grade 5, 4, and 3 to assess muscle strength for the Rectus Femoris (including rest of the quadriceps group), and grade 2 is evaluated in side-lying with test limb uppermost and knee flexed to 90° posture.

Rectus femoris Exercises:

You can build up your rectus femoris muscle by simply doing slow straight leg raises. You have to lay on your back, bend one knee by placing that foot on the floor until both knees meet, keep the other leg straight, and very slowly lift the leg. Now you have to hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower your leg.

Two workouts that are ‘Squats and lunges’ will exercise the rectus femoris muscle by working simply with your body weight or with barbells or dumbbells. Leg extension and upright leg press are done by machine. It is good to include exercises for the quads in the rest of your fitness program if your major cardio activities are walking or running.

There are many practices for the rectus femoris muscle, but the best exercises for these muscle exercises work the knee and the hip, as this muscle moves both joints. You can strengthen the quadriceps muscles that may also help prevent injury, particularly in athletes.

In March 2015, it was reported in a small study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science that the exercise that best activates this muscle is the straight leg raise. Because mainly the rectus femoris flexes the hip and straightens the leg.

There are many benefits of leg raises that include strengthening your core muscles, and according to Mayo Clinic, this can help prevent low back pain. You might see that pain dissipates with additional core-building moves. To mix things up when you work out, choose from multiple types of Leg raises.

  • With one of the most straightforward strength moves, i.e. (the leg raise), you have to target your lower abs and hip muscles.
  • Other than a comfortable place to lie down, there is no need to do leg lifts, but they effectively build power on the front of your body.
  • You have to perform two sets of 10 of each exercise.

Move 1: Straight Leg Raise:

Rectus Femoris

How to do this workout?

  • You have to lie on your back with one leg bent and the other leg straight to perform the straight leg raise.
  • You have to raise the straightened leg off the floor, but no higher than the opposite twisted leg.
  • Now hold for a few seconds and then slowly lower it down.
  • To make this exercise more challenging, you have to add ankle weights.

A small study featured in July 2019 in the Journal of Experimental Orthopedics that knee extension exercise with elastic bands is another best choice for your rectus femoris workout.

Move 2: Knee Extension Exercise with Elastic Bands:

How to do this workout?

  • You have to put a resistance band around the leg of the chair and then around the ankle on the same side by sitting on a chair and Straighten your Leg until it is almost all the way straight.
  • Now hold for some time and then return to the starting position.
  • You can do this exercise by using a knee extension machine at the gym.

Closed-Chain Rectus Femoris Workout:

The Journal of Experimental Orthopedics says these closed-chain exercises are rectus femoris exercises that build strength for quintessential knee health. Closed-chain exercises may help build up strength and have one limit fixed to the ground. American Council on Exercise states that they promote joint stabilization are more functional and conscript several different muscle groups. Perform two sets of 10 of each exercise

Move 1: Squats with Free Weights

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding free weights.
  • If you are sitting down in a chair, squat down as you hinge your hips back.
  • You have to hold for some time and now come back upstanding.
  • The leg press machine will work the same muscles if you are at the gym,

Give it a read: split squat.

Move 2: One-Legged Squat:

  • For balance, you have to extend your arms in front of your body. For balance, you can also hold onto a chair. One thing you have to do is that with the opposite leg extended straight in front, and balance your weight on one leg,
  • Keeping the other leg off the floor, squat down and hinge your hips back.
  • Now stand up

Following exercises are recommended by the SPSR study for a more advanced rectus femoris workout:

Move 3: Alternating Split-Squat Jumps:

  • With one foot back and one foot forward into a lunge, get into a deep lunge position.
  • Switch as you lunge to the other side and explode or jump up. Now repeat.
  • You have to perform two sets of 10 reps.
  • You have to take a rest for 30 seconds between sets.

Move 4: Forward Deceleration Steps:

  • Around your waist, you have to place an elastic band or towel, and your partner should be standing behind you to hold on to it.
  • As your partner applies resistance with the band making it difficult for you to move forward.
  • You have to start it by walking forward, with resistance progress to running ahead.
  • Repeat five times. You have to run or walk up to 20 yards.

Rectus femoris pain:

By overuse of the rectus femoris in sprinting or kicking, you can have a strain, and you may feel pain in the groin. When walking downstairs, you may also feel pain. In activities such as jumping, sprinting, or kicking, acute tears or strains can happen, usually happening at the patellar tendon.

Extending to the knee or be powerless to straighten the knee fully, you might feel severe pain. Overall, patients react well to traditionalist treatment of hip tendinitis. It is significant that once the agony and aggravation are decreased, and movement and strength are reestablished, the patient steadily gets back to complete exercises.

Guidance in day-by-day practices or game execution helps diminish a reoccurrence of tendinitis. By and large, full re-visitation of action will take from 2 a month and a half relying upon the seriousness of the tendinitis.

Causes of pain:

  • Overuse, especially in sporting activities, may result in Injuries.
  • Pain can also be caused by unexpected motions that require “eruptive” stress like fracture or rupture into a sprint.
  • Activities that are done by forceful kicking.

Symptoms of Injury:

  1. In the muscle, there is sudden sharp pain. At the mid-belly, you can feel the injury.
  2. At the site of the damage, discolor/ blacken skin (bruising) may be present.
  3. The injured area causes pain on palpation.
  4. When you straighten the knee, you will have difficulty.
  5. In the thigh ambulation (movement), you will feel pain.
  6. For this injury, proper rehabilitation is essential to avoid re-injury.


The severity of the condition depends on the treatment of Rectus Femoris/Quadriceps tendinitis. The principles of RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) should be initiated when treating acute rectus femoris/quadriceps tendinitis.

  • Rest: You have to avoid the activities that cause the pain. Those activities include running, going up or downstairs, kneeling, jumping, and squatting.
  • Ice: One thing you have to do is to apply ice to the area of inflammation or tendon. It is a quick way to get rid of swelling, pain, and inflammation after injury. At intervals for about 20 minutes at a time, apply it right away. You have to use ice indirectly on the skin.
  • Compression: An ace bandage is a good example used to help take the stress off the injured muscle. Apply light compression when you are using ice. This is mainly helpful for swelling, like if the injured area is swelled.
  • Elevation: To help reduce the swelling, you have to elevate the area.
  • Crutches for moving around may be essential in the case of fractures or severe injuries of the rectus, hamstrings, or adductors.


In mild cases, to reduce the pain, rest, ice, and medication may be enough. Physical therapy is recommended once the pain is reduced to prevent the reoccurrence of the injury; it is necessary to develop a series of stretching and strengthening exercises. Gradually you have to return to activity to avoid an outburst of symptoms.

Moderate to Severe:

Consulting with your health care provider should be the next step if the problem keeps going. Your physician or physical therapist will perform a thorough consideration to determine the severity of the situation or condition, what tendon is entangled, and the best course of treatment.

Physical therapy Interventions:

To control mediations, Physical Therapists are instructed, experts, and prepared. As characterized by The Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, intercessions are the gifted and deliberate utilization of active recuperation strategies and methods to deliver changes steady with the determination, forecast, and the patient or customer’s objectives.

Your actual advisor will play out a careful assessment to survey and decide the accompanying:

  • Ligament: a progression of tests will be performed to figure out which ligament is included.
  • Strength: opposed testing is performed to decide whether there is a related shortcoming or strength awkward nature
  • Adaptability: tight muscles can add to helpless mechanics and shortcoming making lopsided characteristics and making the hip more defenseless to tendinitis.
  • Procedure: Often, we perform movements (run, hop, cycle, or line) that may cause an issue. Talk about and notice the exercises you partake in that may have begun the issue to improve the method.
  • Preparing: survey your preparation program and any abrupt changes that may have accelerated or caused the current condition.
  • Arrangement or footwear: an actual advisor will survey your leg lengths, foot mechanics and arrange to check whether there are any uneven characters. Checking for fitting footwear is a pivotal piece of adjusting the burdens applied to your legs and body.

Active recovery for rectus femoris/quadriceps tendinitis should stay moderate at the beginning to try not to exasperate the condition. Accentuation will be on rest, decreasing the aggravation and expanding the blood flow for recuperating. When the underlying irritation has been diminished, a program of extending and reinforcing will be started to reestablish adaptability to the muscles in question and improve solidarity to lessen the weight on the ligaments and the hip. Taping or tying to rest and alleviate the pressure set on the ligament and advance recuperating might be essential. Your specialist is prepared for these particular taping methods.

Normal Physical Therapy intercessions in the treatment of rectus femoris/quadriceps tendinitis include:

  • Manual Therapeutic Technique (MTT): hands-on care, including delicate tissue back, rub, extending, and joint assembly by an actual specialist to improve the arrangement, versatility, and scope of movement of the knee and hip. Utilization of activation procedures additionally helps to balance torment.
  • Helpful Exercises (TE) include extending and reinforcing activities to recover the scope of movement and fortify muscles of the knee and lower the furthest point to help balance out and decline the burdens put on the bursa and ligaments of the knee hip joint.
  • Neuromuscular Reeducation (NMR) to reestablish dependability, retrain the lower the furthest point, and improve development strategies and mechanics (for instance, running, bowing, crouching, and bouncing) elaborate lower limit to decrease weight on the bursa and ligaments in everyday exercises. Taping, tying, or supporting might be helpful to rest the ligament and advance recuperating.
  • Modalities including the utilization of ultrasound, electrical incitement, ice, cold laser, and others to diminish torment and aggravation of the elaborate ligament and bursa
  • A home program that incorporates reinforcing, extending, and adjustment activities and guidelines assists the individual with performing undertakings and advancing to the following helpful level.

Clinical Interventions:

Rectus Femoris
  • Keeping away from the exercises that produce agony or stress, the elaborate ligament is the main line of treatment.
  • RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation ought to be utilized to diminish the weight on the bursa.
  • NSAIDs (Non-steroidal mitigating drugs) to reduce agony and irritation.
  • Infusion of steroids might be essential to decrease irritation of the elaborate ligament
  • Immobilization, tying, or supporting might be helpful to rest the ligament and advance mending.

Also Read: Cable Curls- Detailed Technique, Benefits, Mistakes

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