Gastrocnemius Muscle

Full Title: Gastrocnemius Muscle

Author: Linda Hilger

Date of Publication: August 19, 2012


Research Paper Text:

The gastrocnemius tendon is one of five tendons of the Achilles tendon group; the other tendons in this group are the superficial digital flexor (SDF), the gracilis, semitendinosus, and the bicep femoris tendon. The gastrocnemius tendon and SDF are the two major components, and one of the largest tendons in the hindquarter tendon group. The main purpose of the Achilles tendon is to keep the heel of the paw off the ground (Degner, 2010). The Gastrocnemius tendon is in the back part of the lower leg, in the caudal muscles of the leg. The two heads, the medial and lateral, run from above the knee, to the heel. The name Gastrocnemius comes from the Greek word gastroknēmē, meaning “calf of the leg”. The Gastrocnemius tendons function within the Achilles tendon group is to extend the hock and flex the stifle. The hind leg muscles retraction is initiated by the middle gluteal muscles and powered by the hamstring muscles. The gastrocnemius and the deep flexor muscles assist in the flexion of the paw (Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, L.M.T., 2004) The blood supply to the Achilles tendon group comes from three sources: the musculotendinous junction, the surrounding connective tissue, and the bone-tendon junction (Mafulli, 1999).


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  • gastrocnemius muscle, also called leg triceps, large posterior muscle of the calf of the leg. It originates at the back of the femur (thighbone) and patella (kneecap) and, joining the soleus (another muscle of the calf), is attached to the Achilles tendon at the heel. Action of the gastrocnemius pulls the heel up and thus extends the foot downward; the muscle provides the propelling force in running and jumping.

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