Online first
Original article
Published online: 2024-05-06

open access

Page views 196
Article views/downloads 109
Get Citation

Connect on Social Media

Connect on Social Media

The anatomy of the motor branches of the sciatic nerve: an anatomical study with clinical implications

Tomasz Kozioł1, Dawid Plutecki1, Patryk Janda2, Wiktoria Larysz2, Julianna Dąbrowa2, Jerzy Walocha2
Pubmed: 38757498


Background: The sciatic nerve gave the motor branches supply to: biceps femoris long and short head, semitendinosus, semimembranosus and adductor magnus muscles. The anatomy of these motor branches is highly variable. The aim of this study was to estimate the anatomy and morphometry of hamstring muscles innervation. Materials and methods: The motor branches of the sciatic nerve were dissected from both sides from 20 cadaveric specimens (9 left and 11 right) from the 11 cadavers (4 females and 7 males) at the Department of Anatomy, Jagiellonian University Medical College Cracow. Results: The motor branches of the sciatic nerve length, distance from piriformis muscle and number of all branches that exist from tibial nerve and common fibular nerve were measured. In most cases common fibular nerve gave off one branch to the short head of biceps femoris, in most cases the proximal hamstring tendon was innervated only by the first trunk, the highest number of branches were innervating the semimembranosus and the long head of biceps femoris, the longest branches were coming to the semimembranosus and the shortest to the proximal hamstring tendon Conclusions: The present study shows that there are various innervation types of the posterior group of thigh muscles. Knowledge of possible innervation patterns could be of utmost value to operators performing surgeries on the posterior region of the thigh

Article available in PDF format

View PDF Download PDF file


  1. Adibatti M, V S. Study on variant anatomy of sciatic nerve. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014; 8(8): AC07–AC09.
  2. Alamneh Y. Knowledge and attitude towards ethical cadaver dissection among medical and health sciences students, 1997–2020: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Transl Res Anat. 2021; 25: 100149.
  3. An XC, Lee JH, Im S, et al. Anatomic localization of motor entry points and intramuscular nerve endings in the hamstring muscles. Surg Radiol Anat. 2010; 32(6): 529–537.
  4. Anderson TB, Vilella RC. Anatomy, bony pelvis and lower limb: posterior thigh. StatPearls [Internet]; StatPearls Publishing, Treasure Island (FL) 2023.
  5. Barnett AJ, Negus JJ, Barton T, et al. Reattachment of the proximal hamstring origin: outcome in patients with partial and complete tears. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2015; 23(7): 2130–2135.
  6. Bonczar M, Bonczar T, Ostrowski P, et al. Penetration of the posterior interosseous nerve fibers into the dorsal capsule of the wrist - a new perspective on wrist innervation. Folia Med Cracov. 2022; 62(2): 17–25.
  7. Bretonnier M, Lemée JM, Berton JE, et al. Selective neurotomy of the sciatic nerve branches to the hamstring muscles: An anatomical study. Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2019; 105(7): 1413–1418.
  8. Chang JS, Kayani B, Plastow R, et al. Management of hamstring injuries: current concepts review. Bone Joint J. 2020; 102-B(10): 1281–1288.
  9. Chen H, Meng D, Xie Z, et al. Transfer of sciatic nerve motor branches in high femoral nerve injury: a cadaver feasibility study and clinical case report. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2020; 19(3): E244–E250.
  10. Dadebo B, White J, George KP. A survey of flexibility training protocols and hamstring strains in professional football clubs in England. Br J Sports Med. 2004; 38(4): 388–394.
  11. Ekstrand J, Hägglund M, Waldén M. Injury incidence and injury patterns in professional football: the UEFA injury study. Br J Sports Med. 2011; 45(7): 553–558.
  12. Gustafson KJ, Grinberg Y, Joseph S, et al. Human distal sciatic nerve fascicular anatomy: implications for ankle control using nerve-cuff electrodes. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012; 49(2): 309–321.
  13. Hardin JM, Devendra S. Anatomy, bony pelvis and lower limb: calf common peroneal nerve (common fibular nerve). StatPearls [Internet]; StatPearls Publishing, Treasure Island (FL) 2022.
  14. Hillier-Smith R, Paton B. Outcomes following surgical management of proximal hamstring tendon avulsions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Bone Jt Open. 2022; 3(5): 415–422.
  15. Kabakcı ADA, Buyukmumcu M, Yılmaz MT, et al. Anatomical structure and topographic anatomy of sciatic nerve in human fetuses. Journal of the Anatomical Society of India. 2016; 65: S25–S32.
  16. Kouzaki K, Nakazato K, Mizuno M, et al. Sciatic nerve conductivity is impaired by hamstring strain injuries. Int J Sports Med. 2017; 38(11): 803–808.
  17. Kuske B, Hamilton DF, Pattle SB, et al. Patterns of hamstring muscle tears in the general population: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2016; 11(5): e0152855.
  18. Probst D, Stout A, Hunt D. Piriformis syndrome: a narrative review of the anatomy, diagnosis, and treatment. PM R. 2019; 11 Suppl 1: S54–S63.
  19. Przybycień W, Balawender K, Walocha J, et al. Thoracolumbar fascia in the lumbar region: anatomical description and topographical relationships to the cutaneous nerves: a preliminary study. Folia Morphol. 2023 [Epub ahead of print].
  20. Puranen J, Orava S. The hamstring syndrome. A new diagnosis of gluteal sciatic pain. Am J Sports Med. 1988; 16(5): 517–521.
  21. Rab M, Mader N, Kamolz LP, et al. Basic anatomical investigation of semitendinosus and the long head of biceps femoris muscle for their possible use in electrically stimulated neosphincter formation. Surg Radiol Anat. 1997; 19(5): 287–291.
  22. Rha DW, Yi KH, Park ES, et al. Intramuscular nerve distribution of the hamstring muscles: application to treating spasticity. Clin Anat. 2016; 29(6): 746–751.
  23. Seidel PM, Seidel GK, Gans BM, et al. Precise localization of the motor nerve branches to the hamstring muscles: an aid to the conduct of neurolytic procedures. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1996; 77(11): 1157–1160.
  24. Stępień K, Śmigielski R, Mouton C, et al. Anatomy of proximal attachment, course, and innervation of hamstring muscles: a pictorial essay. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2019; 27(3): 673–684.
  25. Takizawa M, Suzuki D, Ito H, et al. The adductor part of the adductor magnus is innervated by both obturator and sciatic nerves. Clin Anat. 2014; 27(5): 778–782.
  26. Wood DG, Packham I, Trikha SP, et al. Avulsion of the proximal hamstring origin. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008; 90(11): 2365–2374.
  27. Woodley SJ, Mercer SR. Hamstring muscles: architecture and innervation. Cells Tissues Organs. 2005; 179(3): 125–141.
  28. Yang IH. Neurovascular injury in hip arthroplasty. Hip Pelvis. 2014; 26(2): 74–78.