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Soleus - posterior view
Soleus - posteromedial 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


  • Is mainly deep to the gastrocnemius
  • Medial and lateral part of the muscle is superficial


  • Caput fibula
    • Posterior surface
  • Proximal 1/3 of fibula
  • Soleal line of tibia
  • Middle 1/3 of tibia
    • Medial aspect


  • Calcaneus
    • Posterior surface

Main function

  • Ankle
    • Plantarflexion

Secondary function

  • Tarsal joint
    • Inversion

Nerve innervation

  • Segmental
    • L5-S2
  • Peripheral
    • Tibial nerve

Arterial supply

  • Popliteal artery surreal branch


  • Patient position
    • Prone
  • Place a pillow or place a chair on the bench so that the patient's foot is resting on it and the knee is placed in flexion
    • This leads to the gastrocnemius being more relaxed
  • Ask the patient to plantarflex the ankle while you give resistance
  • Feel towards the sides of the gastrocnemius both medially and laterally to feel activity of the soleus
  • You can also palpate deep to the gastrocnemius

Strength test

  • Patient position
    • Prone with 90° flexion of the knee
  • Support the patient's calf with your one hand
  • Grab the calcaneus with your other hand, and pull it caudally so that the ankle is dorsiflexed
  • Ask the patient to plantarflex the foot
  • Note if the foot inverts or everts, or the knee is extended during the testing, this may indicate weakness of soleus and that they are tryinig to compensate with other muscles
    • Inversion
      • Tibialis posterior and toe flexors may compensate
    • Eversion
      • Peroneus longus, brevis and tertius may compensate
    • Extension of the knee
      • Gastrocnemius may compensate