Getting to Know: The Calves Edition

The Calves


Over the past few weeks we’ve been going over different muscles and common pathologies in the feet and legs. Continuing that theme this week we will briefly introduce the gastrocnemius, aka the calves and soleus muscles.

Located in the posterior leg, back of the leg below the knee, Gastrocnemius (which I call the calf from here on out) provides many actions in everyday life. This muscle starts just above the knee at the bottom of the femur and runs across the back of the knee to the heel (calcaneus) via the Achilles (calcaneal) Tendon. Its main action is to plantarflex the foot and the ankle or point the toe. It also provides the reverse action when the foot is fixed, ie standing and raising up onto your toes like a pretty ballerina, or pushing off the ground while walking and running--particularly when walking uphill or upstairs and while on tiptoes. Because it also crosses the knee joint it helps the hamstrings to flex the leg at the knee. The Soleus is a large muscle that runs deep and distal to, or underneath and below, the calf and it the main muscle used to plantar flex the foot and most engaged in plantarflexion while walking. Since it does not cross the knee it provides no action at the knee joint.

Why are these muscles important?

Together these muscles help you be and stay a happy healthy active person who can run, jump and play, also walking in high heels and having sweet G.I. Joe “butt calves” which is always a cool look!  Massage can help these muscles greatly since they are used everyday, especially if you’re active in sports or exercise. Knots and trigger points can develop and cause pain. Keeping them healthy with stretching and regular massage while training can be of great benefit!

We can help forge a better, faster, stronger you!

As always if you have any questions about this topic or massage in general don’t hesitate to call us at 703-858-2323 or email me at  Thank you for reading!!