Posterior compartment of leg

The posterior compartment of the leg is one of the fascial compartments of the leg and is divided further into deep and superficial compartments.

Posterior compartment of leg
Arteryposterior tibial artery
Nervetibial nerve
Latincompartimentum cruris posterius
Anatomical terminology



Deep posterior compartment

MuscleOriginInsertionInnervationMain Action
Flexor hallucis longusInferior two-thirds of posterior surface of fibula; inferior part of interosseous membraneBase of distal phalanx of big toe (hallux)Tibial nerve
(S1, S2)
Flexes big toe at all joints; weakly plantarflexes ankle; supports medial longitudinal arch of foot
Flexor digitorum longusMedial part of posterior surface of tibia; by a broad tendon to fibulaBases of distal phalanges of lateral four digitsFlexes lateral four digits; plantarflexes ankle; supports longitudinal arches of foot
Tibialis posteriorInterosseous membrane; posterior surface of tibia inferior to soleal line; posterior surface of fibulaTuberosity of navicular, cuneiform, cuboid, and sustentaculum tali of calcaneus; bases of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsals
Tibial nerve
(L4, L5)
Plantarflexes ankle; inverts foot
PopliteusLateral surface of lateral condyle of femur and lateral meniscusPosterior surface of tibia, superior to soleal line
Tibial nerve
(L4, L5, S1)
Weakly flexes knee and unlocks it by rotating femur 5 deg on fixed tibia; medially rotates tibia of unplanted limb

[1] [2]

Superficial posterior compartment

MuscleOriginInsertionInnervationMain Action
GastrocnemiusLateral head: lateral aspect of lateral condyle of femur
Medial head: popliteal surface of femur; superior to medial condyle
Posterior surface of calcaneus via calcaneal tendonTibial nerve
(S1, S2)
Plantarflexes ankle when knee is extended; raises heel during walking; flexes leg at knee joint
SoleusPosterior aspect of head and superior quarter of posterior surface of fibula; soleal line and middle third of medial border of tibia; and tendinous arch extending between the bony attachmentsPlantarflexes ankle independent of position of knee; steadies leg on foot
PlantarisInferior end of lateral supracondylar line of femur; oblique popliteal ligamentWeakly assists gastrocnemius in plantarflexing ankle


Blood supply

Posterior tibial artery


The posterior compartment of the leg is supplied by the tibial nerve.



  1. Moore, Dally, and Agur (2014). Moore Clinically-Oriented Anatomy, Table 5.13.II, p 598.
  3. Moore, Dally and Agur (2014). Moore Clinically-Oriented Anatomy, Table 5.13.I, p 597.
  4. postleg at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
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