Extensor Digitorum Brevis Muscle: Pain In The Top Of The Foot

What pain and symptoms are associated with the Extensor Digitorum Brevis muscle?

Pain pattern of the extensor digitorum brevis muscle

The extensor digitorum brevis contributes to pain on the top of the foot in the area of the second, third and fourth toes.

  • Pain in the top of the feet by the toes
  • Muscle cramps
  • Difficulty raising the foot
  • Difficulty raising the four small toes
  • Numbness in the top of the foot
  • Contributes to the development of hammer toe and claw toe

Where is the Extensor Digitorum Brevis muscle located?

The extensor digitorum brevis is located toward the top of the foot. It connects the heel bone (calcaneus) to the three middle toes.

What movements do the Extensor Digitorum Brevis control?

  • It straightens (extends) the three middle toes.

Activities that cause extensor digitorum brevis of the toes muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Stubbing the toes
  • Kicking a ball
  • Pedaling a bike
  • Climbing stairs
  • Shoes that are too tight or are laced to tightly across the top of the foot
  • High heeled shoes
  • Going barefoot for long periods will stress the muscle if your feet are not accustomed to going without shoes


Interesting facts about the Extensor Digitorum Brevis muscles:

If allowed to remain chronically tight, the extensor digitorum brevis can contribute to hammertoe and claw toes. If the muscles are not treated this can lead to permanent deformity and pain.

Clinical diagnoses to which the extensor digitorum brevis muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Tendinitis
  • Hammer toes or claw toes
  • Turf Toe
  • Gout
  • Charcot’s Joint


Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the extensor digitorum brevis muscle:

  • Extensor Hallucis Brevis
  • Extensor Digitorum Longus

Satellite Trigger Points: Extensor hallucis brevis, Extensor digitorum longus, Peroneus longus, Peroneus brevis, Peroneus tertius, Tibialis anterior

Affected Organ System: Digestive System

For Anatomy Information See: Extensor Digitorum Brevis Muscle Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Help with Extensor Digitorum Brevis and Top Of The Foot Pain

Cold Therapy Treatment For Pain In The Top Of The Foot

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is a cold therapy gel that provides pain relieve for new injuries and is great as a maintenance treatment for over use injuries.  Cold therapy should be used on new and recent injuries instead of heat as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. For extensor digitorum brevis pain at the top of the foot , rub Biofreeze on the top of the foot, from the base of the ankle down to the start of the toes.


For both hot and cold therapy for the foot and ankle

 Foot Wrap For Hot / Cold Treatment and Compression

It is important that immediately after an injury you apply cold treatment and compression to reduce pain and swelling. The ActiveWrap Foot and Ankle Wrap is a great choice for both cold and hot treatments. The wrap has two gel packs that can be used for either hot or cold treatment. The adjustable Velcro closures can be adjusted for comfortable fit. The wrap without the inserts can be worn for both support and compression in the early injury phase. For cold treatment use with BioFreeze for more and longer lasting pain relief.

Warm Therapy for Post Injury Pain and Arthritis Foot Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. It provides warmth without burning heat unlike other heating creams and gels.  It works well for post injury pain and stiffness as well as chronic arthritis pain as it can be applied several times a day. Apply Sombra to the top of the foot to relieve extensor muscle pain. NOTE: Do not use Sombra Warming Gel when using ice packs or heat packs as there is a risk of blistering the skin.  For the most effective treatment, apply after using heat to prolong the treatment and pain relief.


The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.

Self Treatment Help For Extensor Digitorum Brevis Pain

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief can help you treat foot pain by teaching you the techniques to find and eliminate trigger points Author Clair Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it. He also provides stretching and strengthening exercises for each muscle. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body.If you are suffering from pain in the top of the foot,  treating the trigger points in the extensor muscles of the foot can help reduce or eliminate you pain.  This book is a must have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.



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