Artery: Sural arteries
Nerve: Tibial nerve from the sciatic, specifically, nerve roots S1, S2
Action: Plantarflexion, flexion of knee (minor)
Antagonist: Tibialis anterior muscle
The Gastrocnemius is the most superficial muscle, and forms the greater part of the calf. It arises by two heads, which are connected to the condyles of the femur by strong, flat tendons. The medial and larger head takes its origin from a depression at the upper and back part of the medial condyle and from the adjacent part of the femur. The lateral head arises from an impression on the side of the lateral condyle and from the posterior surface of the femur immediately above the lateral part of the condyle. Both heads, also, arise from the subjacent part of the capsule of the knee. Each tendon spreads out into an aponeurosis, which covers the posterior surface of that portion of the muscle to which it belongs. From the anterior surfaces of these tendinous expansions, muscular fibers are given off; those of the medial head being thicker and extending lower than those of the lateral. The fibers unite at an angle in the middle line of the muscle in a tendinous raphé, which expands into a broad aponeurosis on the anterior surface of the muscle, and into this the remaining fibers are inserted. The aponeurosis, gradually contracting, unites with the tendon of the Soleus, and forms with it the tendo calcaneus.
Variations.—Absence of the outer head or of the entire muscle. Extra slips from the popliteal surface of the femur.