Definition of Quadriceps
Quadriceps: Although the term "quadriceps" technically may refer to any four-headed muscle, it usually refers to and is synonymous with the quadriceps muscle of the thigh, the large muscle that comes down the femur (the bone of the upper leg), goes over the patella (the kneecap) and anchors into the top of the tibia (the big bone in the lower leg). The function of the quadriceps is to extend (to straighten out) the leg.
President Bill Clinton had surgery in 1997 to repair the quadriceps tendon in his right knee, which he tore stumbling on steps. The quadriceps stretch exercise is designed to help prevent this type of injury.
For those who are into Latin, this muscle's full formal name is musculus quadriceps femoris. For those who prefer nicknames, it is the quad.
Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013
Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Need help identifying pills and medications?