The posterior compartment is a
fascial compartment bounded by
fascia. It is separated from the
anterior compartment by two folds of
deep fascia, known as the
medial intermuscular septum and the
lateral intermuscular septum.
The muscles of the posterior compartment of the thigh are the:
These muscles (or their tendons) apart from the short head of the biceps femoris, are commonly known as the
hamstrings. The depression at the back of the knee, or kneepit is the
popliteal fossa, colloquially called the ham. The tendons of the above muscles can be felt as prominent cords on both sides of the fossa—the biceps femoris tendon on the lateral side and the semimembranosus and semitendinosus tendons on the medial side. The hamstrings flex the knee, and aided by the gluteus maximus, they extend the hip during walking and running. The semitendinosus is named for its unusually long tendon. The semimembranosus is named for the flat shape of its superior attachment.
The hamstrings are innervated by the sciatic nerve, specifically by a main branch of it: the
tibial nerve. (The short head of the biceps femoris is innervated by the
common fibular nerve). The sciatic nerve runs along the longitudinal axis of the compartment, giving the cited terminal branches close to the superior angle of the popliteal fossa.
The arteries that supply the posterior compartment of the thigh arise from the
inferior gluteal and the perforating branches of the
profunda femoris artery,
 a major collateral branch of the femoral artery and part of the
anterior compartment of thigh. The femoral artery itself crosses the
adductor hiatus to enter the posterior compartment at the level of the popliteal fossa, giving branches that supply the knee. This crossing marks the point in which the vessel changes its name to