It is interesting to note that a small sesamoid or floating bone called a fabella is present in the lateral aspect of the gastrocnemius in approximately ten to thirty percent of people. Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. The gastrocnemius is the muscle of the calf thanks to whom it gets its shape. This type of strain is often called tennis leg, originating from a 1883 reported case of a tennis injury. The gastrocnemius muscle originates as two heads behind your knee. "They have different roles related to their structure and architecture," says Gillanders, a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association. Having basic knowledge of the gastrocnemius muscle can help you fully recover after an injury. Initial treatment for many gastrocnemius injuries typically includes a period of rest or immobilization. The diagram above also shows the referred pain patterns associated with the gastrocnemius trigger points. Provided, of course, that it is caused by the muscle. It arises from the large sciatic nerve. Avoid walking or other activities that cause pain. The reasons for this are often tensions and trigger points. https://sma.org.au/resources-advice/injury-fact-sheets/gastrocnemius-calf-strain The first step in tennis leg treatment is to begin the P.R.I.C.E. RECOVERY. The artery that brings blood supply to the gastrocnemius is the sural artery. It lies on top of the soleus. Calf strains are common injuries seen in primary care and sports medicine clinics. He or she can diagnose your condition and help get you on track to recovery. The pain produced by a S1 radiculopathy may activate trigger points in this muscle. Pain Med. Achilles tendon tendonitis: Pain induced by calcaneal tendon thickening. Another common cause of calf pain is muscle strain. When walking, running, or climbing stairs, the muscle works to flex your ankle and propel you forward. It works along with the quadriceps and gluteus muscles to help raise our bodies up against the force of gravity. If the gastrocnemius muscle is the cause of the pain and not properly treated, the pain will become more persistent and intense. Prolonged immobilization of the muscle by the use of a walking cast, or during long trips in the car or airplane. Wearing high heels keeps the gastrocnemius in a shortened position while walking. It affects the entire lower limb and the movement of the hip and the lumbar area. Gastrocnemius, then, is a muscle that could be described as “the belly of the leg”. Let's focus on the gastrocnemius muscle, reviewing key points, showing its four myofascial trigger point locations, pain referral patterns and treatment techniques. The may also be unable to straighten the leg (at the knee) while standing if they are asked to keep their heel on the floor. In many people it triggers pain in the calf, the hollow of the knee or in the footbed. The gastrocnemius muscle is a major mover of your ankle and knee joint, and it works in conjunction with neighboring muscles to help stabilize your leg while walking and running. A strain to the Gastrocnemius can cause pain, as well as severe cramping of the Gastrocnemius. Calf muscle cramps are usually temporary but can cause significant pain and discomfort. Its pain tends to cover the whole of the calf region and will concentrate strongly in the instep region of the foot. This means that as your gastroc contracts, your ankle and toes point down. You have two gastrocs, one in each lower leg. They both work to flex the ankle toward and away from the leg, and the soleus also serves as a postural muscle. It has two heads which originate in different locations, but which come together to insert at the same place. Before starting any weight calf exercises, it is important to first perform some thorough stretches to activate your gastrocnemius. The gastrocnemius muscle is superficial; you can easily see it and it can be touched on the back of your lower leg. Swelling. Achilles Tendonitis:Your Achilles tendon may become irritated due to faulty foot and leg mechanics or due to overloading the tendon repetitively. The gastrocnemius joins the soleus to form the Achilles tendon, the large tendon that attaches to your heel bone. A medial gastrocnemius strain (MGS) is a specific type of injury to the calf muscle in the back of the leg. The calf muscle is actually made up of two primary muscles: the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle. Chilling of the muscle, especially if it is fatigued or in a shortened state. 2016;69(8):1102-8. doi:10.1016/j.bjps.2016.04.002, Ⓒ 2020 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved. Pain. Most common and in the 30-50-year-old age range, these injuries can be surprisingly uncomfortable. It may also extend … The gastrocnemius muscle is a complex muscle that is fundamental for walking and posture. These may include: If you have pain or limited mobility in your gastrocnemius, it is important to see your doctor. Injury to the calf muscle can occur during athletic activities. Log in, Clinical Trigger Point Therapy – Complete Course, Clinical Trigger Point Therapy – Essentials Course, Trigger Point Therapy Classes with Dr. Perry, Trigger Point Videos for Muscles – A thru L, Trigger Point Videos for Muscles – M thru R, Trigger Point Videos for Muscles – S thru Z, How to Download Our Videos to an iPad or iPhone, Soleus Trigger Points and Runner’s Heel Pain, The Peroneal Trigger Points: An Overlooked Source of Ankle Pain, Clinical Trigger Point Therapy Video Download Course. Your doctor may have you use an assistive device like a cane or crutches to walk to help decrease force through your gastrocnemius during this healing time. Tight fitting socks or garters can impede blood flow in the calf and directly. The lateral head on the outside part of your lower leg arises from the lateral condyle of your femur. The lower medial trigger point is the only gastrocnemius trigger point that has an extended pain referral pattern. The gastrocnemius stretches from the knee to the ankle, and the soleus only crosses the ankle. Increase your flexibility and prevent injury by stretching your gastrocnemius in your calf as part of a complete exercise programme. Gastrocnemius is the most superficial muscle in the posterior compartment of the leg. Severe strains may prevent a … This can lead to problems with the muscle. This anatomical variance usually causes no functional problems. PROCEDURE. Ice. The gastrocnemius muscle is innervated by a nerve called the tibial nerve. Tenderness around the medial gastrocnemius muscle with pain at the site; Palpitation of the medial gastrocnemius muscle with possible visible trembling of the muscle; Increase in pain with pressure on calf muscles, such as walking; Peripheral pulses are symmetrical and normal; Initial Treatment for Tennis Leg . It has two head (lateral and medial) taking origin from the two respective condyles of the femur. The muscle is inserted into the calcaneus bone along with muscle soleus by a common, long, and thick … Gastrocnemius Pain. Clinical features: A 44-year old male presented with acute calf pain with a palpable defect, loss of range of motion, and loss of strength after sustaining a soft tissue injury to the lower leg. Is Your Calf Muscle Pain Just a Strain or Something Else? The muscle then courses down the back of your leg and joins the deeper soleus muscle. Anita Chandrasekaran, MD, MPH, is board-certified in internal medicine and rheumatology and currently works as a rheumatologist at Hartford Healthcare Medical Group in Connecticut. Because it is a two joint muscle, the gastrocnemius is prone to quite a bit of use, and overuse, while functioning. The tibial portion is mainly served by the first and second sacral nerves from your lower back. Baraja-Vegas L(1), Martín-Rodríguez S(2)(3), Piqueras-Sanchiz F(4), Martín-Ruiz J(5), Yeste Fabregat M(1), Florencio LL(6)(7), Fernández-de … Problems walking or putting weight on the injured leg. Learn more about the Dr. Perry's trigger point therapy video download course by clicking here. (Triceps means three, and surae relates to the calf muscle.). A torn gastrocnemius can cause a lot of pain and a great deal of physiological problems; sometimes targeted stretches and specialized therapy can help it heal, but in extreme cases surgery may be required to ensure that people regain all aspects of functionality. 2019 Jul 30. pii: pnz182. Gastrocnemius is a large muscle located in the posterior leg.Posteriorly, is the most superficial of the muscles of the leg, and forms the bulk of the calf.It takes its name from the Greek words γαστήρ (gaster) meaning stomach or belly, and κνήμη (kneme) meaning leg; the combination of the two words means the “belly of the leg” or in other words the bulk of the calf. Sleeping on the back or stomach with the feet planter flexed (toes pointed) is a frequent cause of these trigger points (and calf cramps) especially if the muscle is chilled by a fan overnight. The severity will also affect how long it takes to heal. They both form the Achilles tendon and attach on the posterior aspect of your calcaneus, or heel bone. What Is Causing Your Achilles Tendon Pain? Once a short period of rest is complete, rehabilitation to your calf can begin. The function of the gastroc at the knee is to work with your hamstrings to flex, or bend, your knee joint. [Epub ahead of print] Electromyographic Activity Evolution of Local Twitch Responses During Dry Needling of Latent Trigger Points in the Gastrocnemius Muscle: A Cross-Sectional Study. When this occurs, Achilles tendonitis may result. The calf is composedof two muscles, the soleus and the gastrocnemius, which is a large muscle located in the back of your lower leg. These may include: Recovery from a gastrocnemius injury can take anywhere from two to twelve weeks depending on the severity of the injury. Differentiating strains of the gastrocnemius or soleus is important for treatment and prognosis. Origin. Medically reviewed by Eva Umoh Asomugha, M.D. Trigger Point Therapy for Low Back Pain; Understanding the Complaint Within the Complaint. This allows your calf muscle to heal so you can start restoring flexibility and strength to the muscle. Causes of calf muscle cramps include: dehydration; a loss of … Few fibers also take origin from the capsule of the knee joint. Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Soleus Muscle: Anatomy, Function, and Treatment, Anterior Tibialis Rupture: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Management, Stretches to Ease and Prevent Shin Splints, Medial Gastrocnemius Strain Overview and Treatment, Fascia: The Collagen That Binds Us Together, Learn the Alfredson Protocol Exercise for Achilles Tendonitis, Get to Know the Anatomy of the Lower Leg Muscles, The Plantaris Muscle Could Be the Source of Your Calf Pain, Foot Deformity Is Not Uncommon With Rheumatoid Arthritis, PT-Approved Exercises for Strengthening Your Calf Muscles, exercises for your back to relieve pressure off the nerve. Treatments may include: Rest. Where do the gastrocnemius muscles attach? These may include: 1. The calf muscle is actually made up of two primary muscles: the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle. Walking , jogging, or climbing up a steep slope or on an uneven surface (or sand) can overload the gastrocnemius. This action puts maximal tension on the gastrocnemius muscle as the lengthened muscle is contracted at the “push off,” resulting in a medial calf injury. Therefore, it not only acts on the ankle but the knee as well. Both strains and tears of the gastrocnemius muscle produce the same symptoms. This artery arises from the popliteal artery behind your knee. Pain in the Gastrocnemius can arise from different sources. Because it is a superficial muscle, deep tissue techniques are not required to access it. Research suggests that gastrocnemius tightness also plays a role in forefoot pain (metatarsalgia), flatfoot deformity, Morton’s neuroma and bunions. Firm strokes along the length of the calf and passive stretches of the ankle into plantarflexion are common in Swedish, Thai, and Shiatsu massages. Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Tennis leg, also known as medial gastrocnemius strain, is a condition where the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle gets torn causing lot of pain. Quite a few conditions can affect the calf muscles of your lower legs. Calf cramps, typically at night (these may be present also with latent gastrocnemius trigger points). The medial, or inside, head arises from the medial condyle of the back of your femur (thigh bone). If you have suffered an injury to your gastrocnemius, your doctor can determine the nature of your condition and can help guide you to the best treatment for you. Working with a physical therapist may be a good idea to help with various gastrocnemius injuries. Bruising. Generally, surgery is not required for this injury. Quite a few conditions can affect the calf muscles of your lower legs. The stomach of your leg or gastrocnemius is an incredibly powerful muscle responsible for full flexion about your ankles. There may be a tear of plantaris muscle or sometimes both the muscles may be torn. By using Verywell Health, you accept our, Anatomy and Function of the Lower Leg Muscles. It is one of the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg. So, the pain may be more pronounced along the inner aspect of your calf. This condition is commonly known as “tennis leg.” Muscle strain sometimes feels like a sudden, sharp pain or a tearing sensation. In the case group, athletes with unilateral or bilateral gastrocnemius myofascial pain were recruited if they presented persisting and chronic soreness (more than three months) and active gastrocnemius muscle pain, according to a diagnosis carried out by an experienced myofascial pain physical therapist following the recommendations of a previous study to determine good agreement (κ … The gastrocnemius muscle is an important mover of your lower leg and is responsible for normal walking and running actions. The gastrocnemius is the most superficial muscle and bulky among the muscles in the back (posterior compartment) of the leg. 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