Muscles Of The Leg
If you are beginning an exercise routine to tone your lower body, knowing the muscles of the leg can help you figure out which areas to target to get sexy, well-built calves. Although “leg” commonly refers to the entire lower limb, it technically means the part of the limb between the knee and ankle. Read on to learn more about the muscles of the leg and their functions.
The calf is actually comprised of two muscles: the soleus and the gastrocnemius. The gastrocnemius muscle begins at the lower femur, which is just above the knee. The muscle continues all the way down the calf area and attaches to the Achilles tendon. The soleus muscle begins at the tibia and fibula (also known as the shinbone) and continues down the leg. The soleus is located under the gastrocnemius muscle. The flexor digitorum longus is situated under the soleus muscle and fused to the tibia with a thin layer of tissue known as crural fascia. The tibialis anterior, as its name suggests, is located at the front of the tibia.
Each of the muscles of the leg functions differently to make standing, walking, jumping, sitting and kicking possible. For example, it is possible to stand up because the gastrocnemius stabilizes the ankle and knee. Without it, you would constantly lose your balance and topple over. The same muscle also helps with knee flexion when you are seated.
With the help of the gastrocnemius, the soleus muscle allows the foot to plantarflex. Simply put, plantarflexion refers to the movement of your foot pressing the gas pedal in your car. Plantarflexion enables the angle between your ankle and shin to increase by 90 percent. The flexor digitorum longus' primary function is to flex to the second to fifth toes. This is one of the muscles of the legs that is weak at providing plantarflexion. Finally, the tibialis anterior allows you to invert your leg and draw it toward your body. This muscle is the strongest dorsiflexor (the opposite of a plantarflexor) in your leg. In other words, the tibialis allows you to raise your toes off the ground.