Gastrocnemius Muscle Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation

Gastrocnemius Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation

Muscle Anatomy of the Gastrocnemius

Origin: Medial head: Posterior part of the medial condyle and the adjoining part of the femur.
Lateral head: The lateral condyle and the adjoining part of the femur.
Insertion:  The calcaneus via the Achilles tendon
Actions: Plantarflexion of the foot at the ankle, assists with flexion of the leg at the knee
Innervation: Tibial nerve S1, S2
Blood Supply: Branches from the posterior tibial and popliteal arteries Gastrocnemius Muscle Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Gastrocnemius Actions With Agonists and Antagonists

Primary Actions of the Gastrocnemius

1. Plantarflexion of the foot at the ankle


  • Soleus
  • Tibialis Anterior

Plantaris, tibialis posterior, peroneus longus, flexor hallucis longus, and flexor digitorum longus assist with plantarflexion of the foot at the ankle.

Secondary Actions of the Gastrocnemius

2. Assists with flexion of the leg at the knee


  • Biceps Femoris
  • Semitendinosus
  • Semimembranosus
  • Vastus Lateralis
  • Vastus Medialis
  • Vastus Intermedius
  • Rectus Femoris

Gracilis, sartorius, popliteus, and plantaris also assist with flexion of the knee.

Information about the cause and effect of gastrocnemius pain:

Gastrocnemius: Knee, Low Leg, Ankle, Arch Pain


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Recommended Anatomy Books:

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 by 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.

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The Trail Guide To The Body is another excellent book to help you learn the musculature of the human body. Though the book is geared toward massage therapists and physical therapist assistants, the book with its illustrations and text helps anyone gain a thorough understanding of the human musculoskeletal system and movement. I highly recommend this book for anyone studying anatomy and believe that MTs, PTAs, and teachers of body movements should have this book in their possession. I also highly recommend this book for the layperson who wants to gain an understanding of the muscle, skeletal system and how our bodies move. This book will not disappoint!

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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 the recommended treatments for each muscle.

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