Anatomy of the Calf Muscles

The muscles of the lower leg

The calf muscle, on the back of the lower leg, is made up of two muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus.

The gastrocnemius is the larger calf muscle, forming the bulge visible beneath the skin.  The gastrocnemius has two parts or “head,” which together create its diamond shape.

The soleus is a smaller, flat muscle that lies underneath the gastrocnemius muscle.

The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles taper and merge at the base of the calf muscles.  Tough connective tissue at the bottom of the calf muscles merges with the Achilles tendon.  The Achilles tendon inserts into the heel bone (calcaneus).

During walking, running, or jumping, the calf muscle pulls the heel up to allow forward movement.

muscles_of_the_lower_leg

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