Plantaris Muscle Anatomy

Origin Lateral supracondylar line of the femur
Insertion Posterior surface of the calcaneus
Action Assists in plantarflexion of the foot
Assists in flexion of the knee
Potentially has an important proprioceptive role
Nerve Tibial nerve (S1- S2)
Artery Sural artery
Popliteal artery
Superior lateral genicular artery

Location & Overview

The plantaris muscle is a long and thin muscle which runs down the posterior aspect of the lower leg. It is located superficial to the soleus muscle and deep to the gastrocnemius muscle [1]. Anatomical variation of this muscle can sometimes be present, such as: it being absent entirely (absent in only 7–20% of limbs [2]), terminating proximally into the calcaneal tendon, or even terminating into the gastrocnemius sometimes [3].

plantaris muscle

Here we can see the plantaris muscle in isolation from a posterior view.

Origin & Insertion

The plantaris muscle originates from the lateral supracondylar line of the femur. The origin is superior and medial to the gastrocnemius’ lateral head. The plantaris then continues down the leg located between the soleus and gastrocnemius and then along the medial aspect of the calcaneal tendon, which is inserts right next to, on the calcaneus [4] [5].

origin of the plantaris muscle

Here we can see the origin of the plantaris muscle on the lateral supracondylar line of the femur.

insertion of the plantaris muscle

Here we can see the insertion of the plantaris muscle on the posterior surface of the calcaneus.


The action of the plantaris muscle is to provide weak plantarflexion at the ankle joint and weak flexion at the knee joint. The gastrocnemius is able to perform these actions much better and the soleus is a stronger plantarflexor too (though the soleus does not cross the knee joint so it can’t assist in knee flexion, unlike the gastrocnemius) [6] [7] Some studies have suggested the plantaris plays an important proprioceptive role too [8] [9] [10]. Proprioception is your body’s way to sense movement, action, and its location.


The plantaris muscle is innervated by the tibial nerve (S1- S2). This nerve is the larger branch of the sciatic nerve which divides into the tibial nerve. It also provides innervation for other muscles of the posterior lower leg compartment [11] [12].

Blood Supply

Blood is supplied to the plantaris muscle via the sural, popliteal, and superior lateral genicular arteries [13].

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Plantaris Flashcards


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8 Vlaic J, Josipovic M, Bohacek I, Jelic M. The plantaris muscle: too important to be forgotten. A review of evolution, anatomy, clinical implications and biomechanical properties. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2019 May;59(5):839-845. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08816-3. PMID: 30936418.
10 Greene BD, Smith SE, Smith JT. Snapping Plantaris Tendon: A Rare Case in a Competitive Dancer. J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev. 2021;5(5):e21.00008. Published 2021 May 4. doi:10.5435/JAAOSGlobal-D-21-00008
12 Binstead JT, Munjal A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Calf. [Updated 2021 Jun 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: