Gastrocnemius Trigger Points for Foot Pain Relief

The Gastrocnemius muscle is the meaty part of the calf below the back of the knee. The muscle is attached at the top to the bottom of the femur (bone of the upper leg). The bottom of the muscle is attached to the Achilles tendon, which attaches to the heel bone. The Gastro. is responsible for jumping, climbing and other powerful movements as well assisting the knee and ankle in balance and stabilization. Surprisingly myofascial dysfunction and trigger points in this muscle refer pain to the bottom of the feet in addition to pain local to the upper calf.

Conditions and Differential Diagnoses

Tennis leg
Posterior compartment syndrome
Baker's cyst
Achilles tendonitis
Restless Leg syndrome
Leg cramps
Tight hamstrings
Bottom of foot pain
Heel pain


Trigger points in this muscle refer pain to the arch of the foot, ankle, thigh and knee. Night cramps are sometimes felt in this muscle. Runners may experience further pain and cramps during exercise because the muscle tightness can reduce circulation.


Active Causes:
Overuse injuries can develop from too much of any activity such as running or a single strenuous movement.

Passive Causes:
Driving without the use of cruise control, lack of exercise, using recliners or chairs that put pressure on the back of the legs all reduce circulation. Without circulation blood, carrying vitamins, nutrients and oxygen, is unable to reach the lower legs. This is one way for trigger points and myofascial problems develop. Untucking the bottom of your covers when sleeping can prevent your toes from pointing as much to avoid shortening the muscle at night. Viral infections can also cause tightness and cramping.




Locating the gastro. muscle is straightforward. The meaty part of you calf below the back of your knee is the gastrocnemius muscle. Pointing your toes will contract this muscle. There are four main points to check, they are oriented in the shape of a square over the large part of the calf. As always the best method is to search for a tender point and work it regularly.


The red region indicates the likely pain pattern location you will experience from these muscles. The green circles are the trigger point location . This is where you need to massage in order to relieve the pain. Check out the trigger point page for details regarding treatment tips and techniques.

Using the Theracane Massager, a hand tool or your opposite knee are all option for treatment of this muscles trigger points. By reclining in a chair or a bed you will be able to put gravity to work by resting your calf on the tool or your opposite knee. Short slow strokes over the tender area will help to deactivate the trigger point.

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