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An Introduction To Calf Reduction Surgery

Calf Muscle Anatomy

The contour of our calf on the back of the leg is primarily determined by two types of muscle:

Picture of Gastrocnemius Muscle Gastrocnemius Muscle
It is located at the back of calf and visible from outside of leg and participates in knee joint flexion (bending) and ankle plantar flexion (to propels your leg, raise the heel, etc). It has two heads: Medial and Lateral.
Picture of Soleus Muscle Soleus Muscle
It is located on the inside of calf underneath gastrocnemius muscle, not visible from outside of leg, and participates only in ankle plantar flexion (to propels your leg, raise the heel with the knee bent, etc.).

Gastrocnemius is shorter, thicker, and performs larger and greater powerful movements than soleus. It takes up a large portion of calf, particularly in the upper half of the calf. Soleus fills the lower half of calf .

These muscles are attached to the same achilles tendon and have similar functions: give us the ability to raise the heel and perform our daily activities, such as: running, jumping, walking, etc.

In many leg reconstructive surgeries, gastrocs muscle often cut & sacrificed to fill the defect around knee joint.

There is no postoperative functional disturbance reported since soleus muscle can performs the same functions as gastrocnemius muscle.

Because gastrocnemius muscle contributes a large portion of calf and the fact that soleus muscle can fill up the lost functions of it, most of the calf reduction surgery methods usually sacrifice total or part of gactrocnemius muscle, by excise it partially or fully, or just by cut the nerve that control gactrocnemius muscle to enable it to atrophy, and therefore decrease the volume and size of the calf.