Biceps Femoris – Anatomy, Purpose and Injury Prevention
The biceps femoris muscle is a significant muscle in the body. It is part of the group that makes up the hamstring. The other muscles of the hamstring are:
- Semitendinosus muscle
- Semimembranosus muscle
The hamstring muscles are popular amongst athletes because of the role they play in hip extension when running. It is also one of the muscles that are easily injured by any athlete that runs full speed due to poor running mechanics and a lack of strength.
It is important to note and not confuse the biceps femoris which is a muscle in the posterior part of the thigh with the biceps brachii which is a muscle in the upper arm of the body.
In this article, we will be discussing the anatomy, functions and how to prevent and treat injuries that affect the biceps femoris muscle.
Biceps Femoris: Anatomy
The biceps femoris is a muscle with two heads or branches that are located in the posterior part of the thigh. It has a long head and a short head.
It is the long head that forms part of the hamstring muscles. The short head extends up the thigh and joins with a muscle known as the gluteus maximus or glutes for short.
The sciatic nerve provides the nerve supply to both heads of the muscle. Blood is supplied to both heads of the muscle through the profundal femoris artery, inferior gluteal artery, and the popliteal artery.
Biceps Femoris: Function
The biceps femoris is a critical muscle for knee flexion and hip extension joint. This is why an injury to this muscle is always harmful to an athlete.
The important functions of the biceps femoris muscle to note are:
- It gives posterior stability to the pelvic region of the body.
- The two heads of the biceps femoris muscle provide stability known as rotatory stability and prevent dislocation between the tibia and the femur.
- It helps the leg to perform outward rotation movements.
- Flexion of the knee (Flexion is the action of bending a limb or a joint in the body)
Biceps Femoris: Signs And Symptoms Of Injury
- Tightness in the back of the thigh
- Aching in the back of the thigh
- Pain during walking or running
- Swelling or bruising at the back of the thigh
- Severe while resting on the thigh
- Loss of muscle strength
Biceps Femoris Muscle Injury: Treatment
- Medical History and Physical Examination: The Doctor will ask some questions of you about your signs and symptoms. After taking an adequate medical history, the Doctor will now proceed to physically examine you and confirm the diagnosis running through his mind.
- Investigation: Sometimes, the Doctor will carry out an MRI investigation to confirm the diagnosis.
- Treatment: The Doctor will place you on drugs to relieve the pain you might be feeling. Depending on the severity of the injury, the Doctor might place you on some drugs, refer you to a Physical Therapist for rehabilitation or a Surgeon for definitive treatment.
Here are tips to prevent injuries to your biceps femoris muscle:
- Always take adequate rest after any stressful exercise.
- Avoid activities that will put intense strain on your biceps femoris muscle
- After a series of stressful exercises, you should apply ice to your posterior thigh muscles.
- You can also wear knee support.
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