Reference > Anatomy of the Human Body > Page 483
Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.

Variations.—Absence of the outer head or of the entire muscle. Extra slips from the popliteal surface of the femur.
  The Soleus is a broad flat muscle situated immediately in front of the Gastrocnemius. It arises by tendinous fibers from the back of the head of the fibula, and from the upper third of the posterior surface of the body of the bone; from the popliteal line, and the middle third of the medial border of the tibia; some fibers also arise from a tendinous arch placed between the tibial and fibular origins of the muscle, in front of which the popliteal vessels and tibial nerve run. The fibers end in an aponeurosis which covers the posterior surface of the muscle, and, gradually becoming thicker and narrower, joins with the tendon of the Gastrocnemius, and forms with it the tendo calcaneus.

Variations.—Accessory head to its lower and inner part usually ending in the tendocalcaneus, or the calcaneus, or the laciniate ligament.
  The Gastrocnemius and Soleus together form a muscular mass which is occasionally described as the Triceps suræ; its tendon of insertion is the tendo calcaneus.

Tendo Calcaneus (tendo Achillis).—The tendo calcaneus, the common tendon of the Gastrocnemius and Soleus, is the thickest and strongest in the body. It is about 15 cm. long, and begins near the middle of the leg, but receives fleshy fibers on its anterior surface, almost to its lower end. Gradually becoming contracted below, it is inserted into the middle part of the posterior surface of the calcaneus, a bursa being interposed between the tendon and the upper part of this surface. The tendon spreads out somewhat at its lower end, so that its narrowest part is about 4 cm. above its insertion. It is covered by the fascia and the integument, and is separated from the deep muscles and vessels by a considerable interval filled up with areolar and adipose tissue. Along its lateral side, but superficial to it, is the small saphenous vein.
  The Plantaris is placed between the Gastrocnemius and Soleus. It arises from the lower part of the lateral prolongation of the linea aspera, and from the oblique popliteal ligament of the knee-joint. It forms a small fusiform belly, from 7 to 10 cm. long, ending in a long slender tendon which crosses obliquely between the two muscles of the calf, and runs along the medial border of the tendo calcaneus, to be inserted with it into the posterior part of the calcaneus. This muscle is sometimes double, and at other times wanting. Occasionally, its tendon is lost in the laciniate ligament, or in the fascia of the leg.

Nerves.—The Gastrocnemius and Soleus are supplied by the first and second sacral nerves, and the Plantaris by the fourth and fifth lumbar and first sacral nerves, through the tibial nerve.

Actions.—The muscles of the calf are the chief extensors of the foot at the ankle-joint. They possess considerable power, and are constantly called into use in standing, walking, dancing, and leaping; hence the large size they usually present. In walking, these muscles raise the heel from the ground; the body being thus supported on the raised foot, the opposite limb can be carried forward. In standing, the Soleus, taking its fixed point from below, steadies the leg upon the foot and prevents the body from falling forward. The Gastrocnemius, acting from below, serves to flex the femur upon the tibia, assisted by the Popliteus. The Plantaris is the rudiment of a large muscle which in some of the lower animals is continued over the calcaneus to be inserted into the plantar aponeurosis. In man it is an accessory to the Gastrocnemius, extending the ankle if the foot be free, or bending the knee if the foot be fixed.

The Deep Group (Fig. 439).
Flexor digitorum longus.
Flexor hallucis longus.
Tibialis posterior.

Deep Transverse Fascia.—The deep transverse fascia of the leg is a transversely placed, intermuscular septum, between the superficial and deep muscles of the back of the leg. At the sides it is connected to the margins of the tibia and


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