Updated: Sep 21, 2021
What is it?
Everyone talks and knows about the gastrocnemius but how much do you know about the soleus?
The soleus muscle is located right underneath the gastrocnemius muscle. It originates from the back of the fibular and tibia, into the heel bone via the Achilles tendon.
The soleus' volume is much larger than the gastroc and provides more than double the plantarflexion (lifting your heels off the ground) force.
What it looks like
- Soleus injuries most often occurs during the last stage of running when an athlete pushes off on their toes to run or jump.
- Soleus strain worsens with slow jogging & walking.
- You may feel an increase of tightness in the leg with activity.
- Tenderness in mostly the outside of your leg.
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) - Rocker boot or non weight bearing crutches if high grade strain
- Provide 6-8mm heel raises on both heels to reduce calf load
- Initial isometric loading exercises if pain free
- Bilateral calf raises, -> progress to single leg calf raises if able
- Dependent on pain and recovery begin to incorporate endurance, horizontal forces, plyometrics and high force exercises.
- Rope skipping
- Resisted dorsiflexion with theraband
- Toe walking
- Part task sprinting - focusing on push off phase
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Active Physiotherapy. (2016, June 6). Soleus Image [Image]. Westcoast SCI, Active Physiotherapy. https://westcoastsci.com/blog/soleus-the-forgotten-muscle-for-runners/
Healthy Step. (2020). The Gait Cycle in Running [Image]. Foot Health Innovation. https://www.healthystep.co.uk/advice/the-gait-cycle-in-running-2/