Gastrocnemius - Muscle Physiology & Functional Anatomy


Gastrocnemius Muscle




  • Lateral head:

    • Posterior surface of lateral condyle of femur & highest of three facets on lateral condyle

  • Medial head

    • Posterior medial condyle of femur (posterior surface of femur above medial condyle)


  • Achilles Tendon (calcaneus to middle of three facets on posterior aspect of calcaneus)

Major Arteries:

  • Sural arteries


Neural Innervation:

  • Tibial nerve (S1-S2)


Trigger Points: 

Gastrocnemius Trigger Points




Concentric Functions:

  • Flexion of the knee (primarily during swing phase of gait)

  • Plantarflexion of the ankle

  • Subtalar joint supination (at the end of mid-stance)


Eccentric Functions:

  • Decelerates ankle dorsiflexion

  • Decelerates femoral internal rotation

  • Decelerates subtalar joint pronation

Isometric Function:

  • Helps stabilize the foot & ankle complex

  • Helps stabilize the subtalar joint & tibio-femoral joint during transitional movements

Related Muscles





More Images of the Gastrocnemius Muscle


More Information about the Gastrocnemius Muscle

The gastrocnemius muscle is a biarticulate muscle which means it has functions over 2 joints in this case the knee & the ankle.  lThe gastrocnemius is named after the the Greek words "gaster" which means stomach & "knēmē" which means leg.  The literal meaning "stomach of leg" is due to the bulging shape of the calf muscles.


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