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Lateral head of gastrocnemius

Other Terms: Caput laterale (Musculus gastrocnemius), Caput laterale musculus gastrocnemii

Muscle parts

Lateral head; Medial head

Latin name

Musculus triceps surae – Musculus gastrocnemius

Latin muscle parts

Caput laterale; Caput mediale

Group

Crural muscle – posterior compartment – superficial group

Etymology

The English name for this prominent muscle of the calf is the belly muscle of the leg. Gastrocnemius comes from the Greek gaster meaning “belly” and kneme meaning the “leg.”

Origin

Proximal surface of the lateral condyle of the femur posterior to the adductor tubercle and a ridge on the posterior surface of the femur just proximal to the medial condyle (medial head); the lateral surface of the lateral condyle and the lateral supracondylar line (lateral head); both heads send fibers into the posterior surface of the joint capsule of the knee.

Insertion

Posterior surface of the calcaneus via the shared tendo calcaneus.

Action

Plantar flexion of the ankle joint; flexion of the knee.

Nerve supply

Tibial nerve (S1 and S2)

Blood supply

From proximal to distal, the belly of the muscle is supplied by the sural branches of the popliteal artery, the medial inferior genicular artery, the lateral inferior genicular artery, the posterior tibial artery, and the peroneal artery. The tendon receives a blood supply from the anterior and posterior, medial and lateral malleolar arteries, the calcanean branches of the posterior tibial artery, and the lateral plantar artery.

Latin

Caput laterale musculus gastrocnemii

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