Q:

What is the purpose of the gastrocnemius muscle?

A:

The main purpose of the gastrocnemius muscle is to facilitate leg movements, such as jumping, walking, running and knee bending. The gastrocnemius muscle pushes the leg down during these types activities. The location of this muscle is the back of the leg on the calf area.

The pushing action of the gastrocnemius muscle during walking causes a flexing motion of the leg at the ankle (plantar flexion) and knee joints (knee flexion).The gastrocnemius muscle also has two heads that give the muscle its diamond shape. These are the medial and the lateral heads.

Another important muscle in the calf area is the soleus muscle. These two muscles form the calf muscle, and both contribute to plantar flexion and knee flexion. Both these muscles taper and connect to the Achilles tendon that is at the bottom of the lower leg and above the heel area. In the human body, the Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon.

Many different types of injuries can involve the gastrocnemius muscle, including a torn muscle, inflammation of the muscle and a calf muscle rupture. The treatment option depends on the type of injury. For example, a complete rupture of the gastrocnemius muscle is a severe injury that requires between three to four months of recovery time and possible surgery.


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