Joe Heiler at Sports Rehab Expert asked me if I could do a short video on soft tissue treatment of the popliteus. The popliteus is an often overlooked muscle in soft tissue therapy, so I thought it would be a great idea.
The popliteus attaches onto the lateral condyle of the femur and partially into the lateral meniscus, the belly of the muscle passes along the back of the knee, crossing the popliteal fossa, and attaches onto the medial one third of the proximal tibia.
The popliteus is an accessory muscle to knee flexion and helps to rotate the knee medially in the open chain and laterally in the closed chain (when the tibia is fixed).
Indications for treatment
You may want to consider treating the popliteus when the client is experiencing pain in the back of the knee during movement, when tibio-femoral rotation is compromised, or if there is a loss of flexion at the knee.
The popliteal fossa contains many neurovascular structures that pass down into the lower leg and foot. For that reason, the belly of the muscle will be difficult to palpate and treat, so it is advised that you focus your treatment on the attachments of this muscle to influence it.