The soleus muscle is the plantar flexor of the ankle. It is capable of exerting a powerful force on the ankle. It is located on the back of the lower leg and originates at the posterior aspect of the fibular head and the medial border of the tibial shaft. The soleus muscle forms the Achilles tendon when it inserts into the gastrocnemius aponeurosis. Its nerve sources include the tibial nerves S1 and S2. Its arterial sources include the sural, peronial, and posterior tibial arteries. The soleus muscle is primarily used for pushing off the ground while walking and standing on toes. It may be exercised through calf raises while standing up or sitting down. The soleus is vital to everyday activities such as dancing, running, and walking. The soleus muscle maintains posture by preventing the body from falling forward. It also pumps blood from the periphery into the heart and is therefore often referred to as the skeletal muscle pump.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Soleus