Definition of gastrocnemius in English:


(also gastrocnemius muscle)


  • The chief muscle of the calf of the leg, which flexes the knee and foot. It runs to the Achilles tendon from two heads attached to the femur.

    • ‘However, among all the skeletal muscles, the gastrocnemius was probably the most suitable muscle to examine immobilization-induced deconditioning and passive shortening.’
    • ‘For example, during a static stretch of the gastrocnemius (calf muscle) the participants should continue to swing the arms, or alternate active movement and static stretching.’
    • ‘The gastrocnemius muscle and soleus muscle, via the Achilles tendon, function as the chief plantar flexors of the ankle joint.’
    • ‘As the foot strikes the ground, the toes are pointed - the ankle is extended by contraction of the gastrocnemius - whilst the knee is also extended.’
    • ‘This exercise focuses on the hamstrings but also involves the gastrocnemius muscles.’


Late 17th century: modern Latin, from Greek gastroknēmia calf of the leg, from gaster, gastr- stomach + knēmē leg (from the bulging shape of the calf).