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Gastrocnemius posterior view
Gastrocnemius - lateral view
Gastrocnemius - medial view

General information

  • This section is strictly limited to anatomy, you might be looking for clinical relevant information which is found under the clinical chapters -- muscles section, click here to go to that page


  • Superficial


  • Medial condyle femur
  • Distal posteromedial femur
  • Lateral condyle femur
  • Distal posterolateral femur


  • Posterior part of calcaneus

Main function

  • Ankle
    • Plantarflexion
  • Knee
    • Flexion

Secondary function

  • Foot
    • Inversion

Nerve innervation

  • Segmental
    • S1-S2
  • Peripheral
    • Tibial nerve

Arterial supply

  • Popliteal artery


  • Patient position
    • Prone with knee in full extension
  • Place your hand on the posterior aspect on the middle of the patient's calf
  • The gastrocnemius is superficial, you can follow it all the way to the origin from the condyles and distal part of the femur, and all the way down to it's insertion at the calcaneus
  • To distinguish the muscle more clearly, ask the patient to plantarflex the foot while you give resistance

Strength test

  • Patient position
    • Prone with knee in full extension and foot hanging outside of the edge of the treatment table
  • Hold the palm of your one hand under the patient's front foot, while you grip the calcaneus between your index finger and thumb with the other hand
  • Ask the patient to lift the heel (calcaneus) up
    • If the patient is particulary weak it will be enough to give resistance towards the calcaneus and not necessary towards the patient's front foot