Take a look at these 3 different views of the hip and thigh, showing the superficial muscles.

Side view of hip and thigh

The side view of your hip and thigh shows:

  • the iliac crest (top of the hip bone);
  • gluteus maximus muscle – this muscle makes up most of the flesh of the buttock; its action extends the hip, bringing the thigh into a straight line with the pelvis;
  • iliotibial band (ITB) – a band of strong fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh;
  • tensor fasciae latae muscle – this contributes to hip flexion and rotation;
  • vastus lateralis, and parts of the rectus femoris and biceps femoris muscles (see below); and
  • the patella (kneecap).

side view hip and thigh

Front view of hip and thigh

From the front (anterior view), you can see the following.

  • The anterior superior iliac spine (bony projection at the front of the hip bone).
  • Most of the quadriceps muscles (rectus femoris and 2 of the 3 vastus muscles – vastus lateralis and vastus medialis) – together with the vastus intermedius muscle (not shown). These muscles create the flesh of the front of the thigh; they act together to extend the knee (e.g. to kick a football).
  • Some of the hip flexor muscles (psoas major, iliacus and iliopsoas).
  • Some of the adductor group of muscles (gracilis, pectineus and adductor longus) – this group adducts, or brings, the thighs together.
  • Sartorius – this has only a weak action on the hip and is more involved in knee movement. It is the most superficial (closest to surface) thigh muscle, so can often be seen and felt.

anterior view hip and thigh muscles

Back view of hip and thigh

The back (posterior) view of the hip and thigh shows:

  • the 3 hamstring muscles (biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus) – these muscles form most of the flesh of the back of the thigh; they flex the knee and extend the hip;
  • gluteus maximus muscle (buttock); and
  • gracilis, sartorius and plantaris muscles.

posterior view hip and thigh muscles