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Gastrocnemius Muscle Anatomy Study: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation

Gastrocnemius Muscle Anatomy Study: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation

Gastrocnemius Anatomy
Origin: Medial head: the depression at the upper and posterior part of the medial condyle of the femur and continuing behind the adductor tubercle to a slightly raised area on the popliteal surface of the femur, just above the medial condyle.
Lateral head: area on the lateral surface of the lateral condyle of the femur and to the lower part of the corresponding supracondylar line.
Receives the tendon of soleus on its deep surface to form the Achilles tendon to attach to the middle of three facets on the posterior surface of the calcaneus
Action: Plantarflexion of the foot at  the ankle, assists with flexion of the leg at the knee.
Innervation: Tibial nerve S1-2
Blood Supply: Branches from the posterior tibial and popliteal arteries.

Synergist: Quadriceps, Gluteus maximus, Soleus

Antagonist: Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, Biceps Femoris,  Gracilis, Sartorius

For pain and symptom information see: Gastrocnemius: Knee, Low Leg, Ankle, Arch Pain


Primary Actions of the Gastrocnemius:

1. Plantarflexion of the foot at the ankle

  • Agonists: Soleus
  • Antagonists: Tibialis Anterior

2. Assists with flexion of the leg at the knee

  • Agonists: Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus
  • Antagonists: Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius, Rectus Femoris

Recommended Anatomy Books and Study Aids


Musculoskeletal Anatomy Flashcards Musculoskeletal Flashcards Are you a student or professional therapist who needs to brush up on the musculoskeletal system? Dr. Joseph E. Muscolino DC has developed a comprehensive set of flashcards that will help develop a mind’s picture of exactly where the muscles lie under the skin. A highly recommended study aid for students. Great for non students who want an easy comprehensive anatomy guide.






The Anatomy Coloring Book is one of the best study and reference books for beginning anatomy students. The diagrams are clearly labeled and allow you to see the relationship and placement of the various structures of the body. You will also be surprised how the act of coloring will help with recall. But this is not just a beginners book, it is also great for practitioners and therapists to have on hand to use with clients and patients to use as a visual reference.



Out of the scores of books in my office Basic Clinical Massage Therapy is by far the most referenced book in my library. The musculoskeletal system is overlaid on human models allowing you to learn the precise location, origin and insertions of each muscle. The models are pictured in various poses throughout the book which also helps you visualize muscles in motion and their actions relationship with the skeletal structure and other muscles. Though it is written for massage therapists, it is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn about the muscular system. MT’s will benefit from recommended treatments for each muscle.







The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook – Claire Davies, Amber Davies, and David G. Simons

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy: Integrating Anatomy and Treatment – James H. Clay and David M. Pounds

Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain – Donna Finando and Steven Finando

Massage Therapy Principles and Practice – Susan Salvo

Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage – Mark Beck


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