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The gracilis muscle is one of the muscles found in the groin.

It starts at the external point of the ischiopubic ramus (on the pubic bone) and extends down to the upper medial (middle) shaft of the tibia, or shinbone. The gracilis is responsible for hip adduction and assists knee flexion. Adduction means the body part is moved from the outside toward the center of the body. In this case, it is bringing both legs together or across the body. This muscle also assists in stabilizing and rotating the knee inward.

There are five groin muscles used in adducting the hip, including the pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, and the gracilis muscle. Stretching the groin helps prevent strain injuries to the gracilis.

The obturator nerve innervates this muscle via the lumbar spinal vertebrae. Injury to this area can lead to more than simple muscle problems; nerve impingement (pressure on the nerve) can restrict muscle control and sensory input coming from the groin area. Impingement of the obturator nerve usually leads to radiating pain starting at the hip, and generally extending downward to the knee or beyond.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Gracilis

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