All aboard the Drunk Anatomy express! We're committed to, in equal parts, your edification and inebriation. You'll find an illustrious array of anatomically-oriented discussions and largely outdated references during your travels with us. There is also a general look the other way/solidarity themed approach to alcohol. We are here to serve you.
This week, our concentration will be on the gastrocnemius!
What and why? But mostly what?
We're heading in gastrocnemius land for two reasons: 1). On the back of my left calf, there's stretch marks that have never ceased to confuse me; 2). I get cramps there sometimes and it is so friggin' annoying, I can't even articulate it. Essentially, the area that turned out to be my gastrocnemius is a total hassle and mysterious so I wanna get it figured out. Not to make a generalization on all the gastrocnemiuses out there, I'm sure yours is beautiful and never cramps up. (Maybe solved the mystery: calf cramps can be caused by a magnesium deficiency. Huh. The more you know.)
The gastrocnemius is the high, bulbous muscle located in the back of the calf, right below the back of the knee. Surprising, right? The name makes it sound like it's an intestinal thing, but here we are. Mislead. Disabused of our notion that words mean things.
Apparently, it means the "stomach of the leg," which is slightly more credible reasoning behind the name choice. I'm assuming it's a reference to bulging potbellies, but I could be wrong. I feel like I'm not, but it's possible, though very unlikely.
What does the leg gut do?
The gastrocnemius has a muscle soulmate/business partner/both in the soleus. They work together to bend the heel backwards towards the ankle, bending at the knee, stabilizing, and propelling the legs forward. That sounds like a whole of lot of hoopla. Let's make the explanation more manageable!
You use your gastrocnemius when you jiggle your leg incessantly, playing hopscotch, clicking your heels, jogging, two-stepping, the moon walk, drawing circles with your toes all coy, jumping fences, running up steps to do something hella dramatic and ill-advised, etc. You get it!
Tell me how to express my feelings.
Let's break down some stretches!
There's one that's very "I lost my powers of being permeable but I can't accept it yet" where you place both hands against a wall and place your feet in lunge pose. Make sure that the tight gastrocnemius is the one that's furthest back so it's getting that stretch.
Another one you can do is very making a comeback, very training in a run down gym, very I'll show them style. You sit with your legs out in front of you and hold a towel, bungee cord, rope, whatever around your toes and pull the whatever it is forward. Keep your back straight and just feel that gastrocnemius stretch.
You can also express that love and devotion with a deep tissue massage, just saying.
Lindsay is the Office Superhero (check the business cards) at Mantis Massage. She knows essentially zilch about massage therapy other than that it feels real nice. Outside of random trivia, she has retained nothing from talking with the therapists re: anatomy. Lindsay might maybe possibly definitely be inebriated for these discussions, but who's to say?