Written by Roxanne Salkeld

Last updated January 16, 2023 • 6 Revisions •

The gastrocnemius is a muscle within the superficial compartment of the posterior leg. It has medial and lateral heads and forms the characteristic “calf” shape of the leg.

  • Attachments:
    • The lateral head originates from the lateral femoral condyle. The medial head originates from the medial femoral condyle.
    • The two heads combine to form a single muscle belly.
    • Distally, the muscle belly converges with the soleus muscle to form the calcaneal tendon. This inserts onto the calcaneus.
  • Actions: Plantarflexion at the ankle joint and flexion at the knee joint.
  • Innervation: Tibial nerve.
  • Blood Supply: Medial and lateral sural arteries (branches of the popliteal artery).

Fig 1
The muscles in the superficial layer of the posterior leg. The body of the gastrocnemius has been cut away to expose the underlying musculature.

Premium Feature

3D Model

Premium Feature
Access this feature with premium.
Go Premium
Rate This Article