What Happens When The Gastrocnemius Muscle Contracts?


Action of the gastrocnemius pulls the heel up and thus extends the foot downward; the muscle provides the propelling force in running and jumping.

What causes gastrocnemius contracture?

In general, isolated gastrocnemius contracture is believed to develop from one of several causes: A hereditary predisposition (our evolutionary ancestors all had equinus contractures) Aging, which tends to cause muscles to stiffen through progressive collagen crosslinking.

What are the 4 types of muscle contractions?

Key Terms

  • Isometric: A muscular contraction in which the length of the muscle does not change.
  • isotonic: A muscular contraction in which the length of the muscle changes.
  • eccentric: An isotonic contraction where the muscle lengthens.
  • concentric: An isotonic contraction where the muscle shortens.

How do you stretch your gastrocnemius?

Gastrocnemius Stretch (Flexibility)

  1. Stand facing a wall from 3 feet away. Take one step toward the wall with your right foot.
  2. Place both palms on the wall. Bend your right knee.
  3. Lean forward, keeping the left leg straight and the left heel on the floor.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. …
  5. Switch legs and repeat.

Why is my calf so tight?

What are the causes? Tightness or pain in the calves is often the result of overuse. Activities like running and playing sports can be hard on your calf muscles. Endurance sports are particularly tough on the body.

What is a gastrocnemius recession procedure?

Gastrocnemius recession lengthens the muscles and tendons at the back of the leg, allowing the heel to shift downward into a more natural position. This outpatient procedure is used in the correction of conditions such as flatfoot, chronic Achilles tendonitis, or equinus (commonly called toe walking).

What is a PF contracture?

A plantar flexion contracture is a condition in which the ankle and foot cannot plantar flex, or bend downward. This condition can make walking and running very difficult. Plantar flexion contractures are often treated with various stretches and exercises of the joint. Severe contractures might even require surgery.

What are 4 specific exercises to strengthen the gastrocnemius?

The 4 Best Calf Strength Exercises

  1. Straight Knee Calf Raises. Start with both feet on the ground near a wall or bench to hold on to. …
  2. Bent Knee Calf Raises. Start with both feet on the ground near a wall or bench to hold on to. …
  3. Seated Calf Raise. This can be performed on a seated calf raise at the gym. …
  4. Hopping.

Why is my calf so big?

What Causes Big Calves? Bigger-than-average calf muscles could be the result of genetics, indulging in too many salty foods, carrying excess body fat or doing the wrong kinds of exercises for your body type.

What is the best workout for calves?

The 8 Best Calf Exercises and Stretches

  1. Standing calf raise on elevated surface. …
  2. Seated calf raise. …
  3. Farmer’s walk on toes. …
  4. Jump rope. …
  5. Dumbbell jump squat. …
  6. Downward dog. …
  7. Straight-leg calf stretch against wall. …
  8. Standing wall calf stretch.

How do you treat a torn gastrocnemius?

Treatment for a gastrocnemius muscle tear


  1. Rest. Avoid walking or other activities that cause pain.
  2. Ice. Putting ice on the injured area may ease swelling.
  3. Elevation. …
  4. Prescription or over-the-counter medicines. …
  5. Walking boot or crutches. …
  6. Heel lifts. …
  7. Compression sleeve. …
  8. Strengthening and stretching exercises.

Is the gastrocnemius the largest muscle below the knee?

Gastrocnemius – Physiopedia Description Gastrocnemius forms the major bulk at the back of lower leg and is a very powerful muscle. It is a two joint or biarticular muscle and has two heads and runs from back of knee to the heel.

What is the lower calf muscle called?

Gastrocnemius: This muscle is just under your skin at the back of the lower leg. Because the gastrocnemius is close to the skin’s surface, you can often see its outline. It forms the bulk of your calf muscle.

How long after gastrocnemius recession can I walk?

By roughly 8 weeks post-operatively, most patients can usually walk reasonably normally, although it may take 8-12 months to regain 90-95% of the original calf strength.

Is gastrocnemius recession painful?

Gastrocnemius Recession Recovery

Expect the first few days to be painful and to require narcotic pain medications. You’ll be in a boot or similar for several months while the tendon heals properly. You can usually begin touch down weight bearing (touching your foot to the floor) about at 6-12 weeks.

How long does gastrocnemius surgery take?

About the Surgery

The outpatient procedure takes approximately one hour and is performed under general anesthesia. A small incision (approximately 1/2 inch) is made on the inside area of the lower leg and the gastrocnemius tendon is exposed.

What problems can Tight calves cause?

Tight calf muscles limit the range of motion in your ankles, which causes some people to walk more on the balls of their feet. This shift toward the front of your foot when you’re moving can lead to problems like bursitis and nerve entrapment.

Is heat good for tight calf muscles?

Heat therapy is commonly used for strains and sprains because it helps relax and loosen up sore and tight muscles. This kind of therapy helps heal the damaged tissue by increasing blood flow to the affected muscle, thereby providing it with more oxygen and nutrients, which are both important for muscle recovery.

Why are my muscles so tight even after stretching?

The most obvious reason why muscles may feel tight is because they are physically shorter than they used to be. This occurs if the muscle has been held in a shortened position for a long period of time, such as if you were in a splint or a cast for several weeks.

How do you stretch the soleus and gastrocnemius?

Method: Sitting in a supported position with leg outstretched. Draw the big toe inwards towards the midline of the body. Do not let the knee or hip twist. Hold the position, feeling the stretch on the outer part of the ankle and then return to resting position.

Does stretching calves make them smaller?

Don’t get me wrong – stretching won’t necessarily make your calves smaller, but it will help you loosen tight muscles and get you more flexible. … As a side effect, you can feel like your thighs and calf muscles are a bit loser and it might even appear slightly thinner.

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