What is the Soleus Muscle?

By Nicholas Baker, LMT, NMT

What is a Soleus Muscle?

What is the Soleus Muscle and Where is it Located?

The soleus is a large muscle on the back of your lower legs. This strong muscle originates from the back of your shin bone and attaches to your heel bone as part of the Achilles tendon. The soleus muscle becomes active during activities like walking, running, and jumping.

Illustration of the human leg musculature highlighting the soleus muscle. JOI Rehab

Illustration of the Soleus Muscle

What are the Functions of the Soleus Muscle?

There are two functions of the soleus muscle. The first is to plantar flex your foot. Plantar flexion is the direction of motion that occurs as your foot and toes point down. Secondly, the soleus assists with venous return from the feet and legs to the heart when standing, as the venous circulatory system passes through the muscle tissue.

Soleus the “Secondary Hearts” of the Body

The soleus muscle is so critical in returning blood to the heart that it has been called the “secondary hearts” of the body. As we walk, we relax and contract the soleus muscle which creates a pump like action for the venous circulatory system that runs through the muscle.

Illustration showing the secondary hearts of the body or soleus muscle with beating heart. JOI Rehab

The Soleus are the Secondary Hearts of the Body

Common Injuries to the Soleus Muscle

Soleus injuries are common for runners. Fatigue and overtraining are the most common causes of injuries especially for long-distance runners. Soleus strains can happen to any athlete who sprints, including tennis and basketball players, and other sports that require quick, sudden movements and jumping. Athletes are usually receive encouragement to do calf raise type exercises to prevent and reduce soleus injury.

Written By: Nicholas Baker, LMT, NMT


Direct Access to physical therapy means that patients can see a physical therapist without a prescription from a physician. To learn more about about this service offered from The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute watch our Video on Direct Access to Physical Therapy!

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