The medial pterygoid muscle is a muscle that belongs to the masticatory muscles of humans. It is located on the inside of the temporomandibular joint. Its function is the movement of the temporomandibular joint.

What is the medial pterygoid muscle?

The medial pterygoid muscle is a masticatory muscle of the human dentition. He thus has an important function in the motor system of the jaw. The muscles of mastication of the human body include 4 muscles. These are the masseter muscle, the temporalis muscle, the medial pterygoid muscle and the lateral pterygoid muscle.

Each of the four chewing muscles takes on a different task to ensure the chewing process. The medial pterygoid muscle serves to move the temporomandibular joint and thus the movement of the lower jaw. Through his activity, the jaw is closed. The medial pterygoid muscle is located on the inside of the lower jaw. He is called the inner wing muscle. The medial pterygoid muscle lays around the lower jaw in the form of a noose.

The masseter muscle works closely with the medial pterygoid muscle. Through their cooperation, they enable a powerful biting. So also solid components of the food can be ground and a biting becomes possible. The medial pterygoid muscle is supplied by the pterygoid nerve. This is a nerve branch of the maxillary nerve, which belongs to the v. Cranial nerve, the trigeminal nerve.

Anatomy & Construction

The Nervus trigeminus branches into further branches. One of these is the mandibular nerve. He moves through the foramen ovale. Its motor parts divide into several branches that lead to the four jaw muscles of the lower jaw and the floor of the mouth.

The nerve branches are the masseteric nerve, the deep temporal nerves, the pterygoid nerves, and the mylohyoid nerve. The masseter muscle is innervated by the masseteric nerve. The temporal nerves provide the temporal muscle. The lateral pterygoid muscle and the medial pterygoid muscle are supplied by the pterygoid nerves. The supply of the floor musculature of the mouth is taken over by the nerve mylohyoideus. The medial pterygoid muscle begins at the pterogenous fossa. This is a bulge on the skull.

It runs along the pterygoid process of the sphenoid. This is the human sphenoid located below the eye. In addition, the medial pterygoid muscle runs along the pterygoid tuberosity. This is the inside of the jaw angle. The medial pterygoid muscle and the masseter muscle form a muscle loop. This lies around the lower jaw of the human dentition. The medial pterygoid muscle can be felt well on the Ramus mandibulae.

Function & Tasks

The four masticatory muscles perform different tasks in regulating the chewing process. The muscle masseter is called the masseter muscle. He is responsible for the closure of the jaw together with the medial pterygoid muscle. The temporal muscle is the temporal muscle. He also supports the jaw closure and in addition he allows the retraction of the lower jaw.

The lateral pterygoid muscle allows movement of the temporomandibular joint. He is titled as a wing muscle and directs the opening of the jaw one. The advancement of the lower jaw, the protrusion is responsible by him. The medial pterygoid muscle is used to break up the ingested food. Through him a powerful biting is possible. In addition, it is during the purchase process for a good crushing of the solid food components of great importance.

The medial pterygoid muscle influences the necessary turning and painting movements when mincing the food. The jaw is closed by the medial pterygoid muscle. This process is also of great importance in language education and singing. Certain sounds and sounds can only be shaped and pronounced by closing the jaw and mouth at the same time.


The teeth and the chewing apparatus of humans are a particularly sensitive region in the human body. Pain occurring there is often described as a pain attack that is barely sustainable. Dysfunction of the medial pterygoid muscle causes a restriction of the jaw closure.

The force with which the closing of the mouth is made is reduced. This means that the intake of food is restricted. In bad cases biting becomes impossible. The crushing of food is associated with discomfort. In everyday life, the more solid components of the food must be crushed or soaked before being absorbed into the mouth. In addition, the medial pterygoid muscle is also used when speaking or singing. Once damaged, these tasks can no longer be adequately fulfilled. The language is limited and some sounds can only be pronounced with impairment.

Although this is painless, but perceived as unpleasant, as it increasingly leads to misunderstandings in everyday life. Malfunctions of the temporomandibular joint have an effect on complaints in the head, neck and back area. The musculature of the chewing organ are closely interconnected with the back muscles. As a result, they influence each other. As a result, headaches, tension or strain are expected.

A permanent malposition due to the restriction of the musculature of the jaw also leads to similar complaints. In addition, ear noises, blurred vision or dizziness often find their origin in a defective masticatory apparatus. By tooth or jaw malpositions, the functional activity of the muscles changes. This can then produce the corresponding symptoms. Nocturnal teeth grinding, dysphagia, increased salivation or general toothache can also be caused by damage to the medial pterygoid muscle.

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