The popliteal fossa (sometimes referred to colloquially as the knee pit, or poplit) is a shallow depression located at the back of the knee joint. The bones of the popliteal fossa are the femur and the tibia.

The boundaries of the fossa are:

superior and medial: the semimembranosus muscle

superior and lateral: the biceps femoris muscle

inferior and medial: the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle

inferior and lateral: the lateral head of the gastrocnemius muscle and plantaris muscle

The roof is formed by (from superficial to deep):

  • skin
  • superficial fascia, which contains the small saphenous vein, the terminal branch of the posterior cutaneous nerve of the thigh, posterior division of the medial cutaneous nerve, lateral sural cutaneous nerve, and medial sural cutaneous nerve
  • deep fascia or popliteal fascia

The floor is formed by:

  • the popliteal surface of the femur
  • the capsule of the knee joint and the oblique popliteal ligament
  • strong fascia covering the popliteus muscle


Structures within the popliteal fossa include, (from superficial to deep):

  • tibial nerve
  • popliteal vein
  • popliteal artery, a continuation of the femoral artery
  • small saphenous vein (termination)
  • common fibular nerve (also known as the common peroneal nerve)
  • Popliteal lymph nodes and vessels

It is of note that the common fibular nerve also begins at the superior angle of the popliteal fossa.

Esta definição inclui textos do site wikipedia – Wikipedia: enciclopédia libre (22 de julho de 2004). FL: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Recuperado no dia 10 de agosto de 2004, de


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