The popliteus is a muscle found at the back of the knee that can become strained and cause pain. The main action of the popliteus muscle is to unlock the knee, helping bring a straight leg into a bent knee position. This muscle links closely with other structures of the knee, such as the meniscus, ligaments and hamstring muscle group. As a RMT, I frequently meet clients that come in complaining of chronic knee pain. A popliteus muscle strain is one of the many possible causes, typically presenting as a deep ache in the back or inside of the knee. Long distance running, tight hamstrings, and hyperextending the knee are some of the similarities I find in my clients who develop this issue. In a massage treatment, I would help release the adhesions between the popliteus muscle and it’s neighbouring structures to allow for smooth function. After the massage I give stretches and exercises to facilitate further healing with the end goal of stopping pain caused by the popliteus muscle.
Scientists have recently discovered a new muscle in the quadriceps, there are actually five parts versus four?!? I think we should start calling them the quintriceps instead of quadriceps. The new “tensor vastus intermedius” added to the group is highlighted in red in the diagram below. It can contribute to tracking issues with the knee cap when walking or running. This discovery is a good reminder that we do not yet know everything about the human body. There are slight variations in how we are made up, but our physiology can also adapt and change with time. In my massage practice, I recognize that individuals are all unique and treat them according to how they present. It is exciting that we are finding new muscles and we may even have greater strength potential than we realized!