Extensor Digitorum Longus: Pain in the Top Of The Foot

What pain and symptoms are associated with the Extensor Digitorum Longus?

The extensor digitorum longus can contribute to pain in the top of the foot, ankle and lower leg.

Pain and or numbness  in the top of the foot extending into the ankle and bottom of the lower leg, foot cramps, and difficulty bending the foot up can indicate extensor digitorum longus dysfunction.

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

Where is the Extensor Digitorum Longus Muscle?

  • Extensor Digitorum Longus attaches to the top of the large bone of the lower leg and to most of the length of the small bone of the lower leg. It runs down the leg to attach to bones in the four small toes.

What movements do the Extensor Digitorum Longus control?

  • Bends the four small toes up
  • Bends the foot by the ankle up toward the front of the body
  • Assists in maintaining balance

Activities that cause Extensor Digitorum Longus muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Stubbing the toes
  • Kicking a ball
  • Pedaling a bike
  • Climbing stairs

Interesting facts about the Extensor Digitorum Longus muscle:

If allowed to remain chronically tight, the extensor digitorum longus muscles can lead to hammer toe and claw toes. Permanent deformity of the toes can result if the muscles are not treated.

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

  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Hammer toes or claw toes
  • Gout


Extensor Digitorum Longus Muscle is found in the lower leg

You use the extensor digitorum longus muscle when you bend the four small toes upwards. Also assists in bending the foot at the ankle up toward the body.


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

Satellite Trigger Points: Extensor Hallucis Longus, Peroneus Longus, Peroneus Brevis, Peroneus Tertius, Tibialis Anterior

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

Help with Extensor Digitorum Longus Muscle Pain

If trigger points in the extensor digitorum longus muscle are the cause of your pain, it is important to treat the muscle itself, not the area of pain. So although the pain is felt mainly in the top of the foot and ankle area, it is important to address the muscle which runs from the bottom of the knee to the toes, not just the ankle or top of the foot to relieve pain.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.Warm Therapy Gel For Lower Leg Pain

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 and works for relieving tightness and pain. Applying Sombra to the muscles on the outside and front of the leg, down to the top of the foot can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the extensor digitorum longus. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and pain from arthritis.

Cold Therapy Gel For Lower Leg Injury and Pain

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries. It is better to use than warm therapy gels and creams for muscle pain caused by inflammation as it cools the area much like ice. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If your low leg pain is from a recent injury I would recommend Biofreeze.

Hot / Cold Wrap For Sore Shins and Lower Leg Injury and Pain

Hot Cold Wrap for Shin Splints and Sore Shin Muscles

If you have chronic pain from an old injury or participate in activities that strain the lower leg muscles the Thera Pearl Shin Hot & Cold Wrap  can be used to apply heat or as an ice pack. It works on the shin or the calf wrapping around the leg with two Velcro band closures. The packs can be stored in the freezer for cold therapy or popped in the microwave for heat. Use this on the extensor digitorum longus muscle to ease the pain in the front and side of the lower leg and to ease top of the foot pain.


Lower Leg Calf Muscle Brace and Support

The Shock Doctor Calf-Shin Wrap
is an adjustable wrap that provides support for the low leg muscles. It can be used for shin splints as well as sore strained or sprained lower leg muscles. The brace provides compression and heat to help relax the muscle and improve mobility. Use this brace if you need more support after injury or need adjustable compression for chronic pain support. If you suspect or have ever been treated for blood clots consult your doctor before using compression or supports on your legs!

Eurosocks Patented Recovery Graduated Compression Sock

Over the calf graduated compression socksThe graduated compression socks have become a go-to for both amateur and professional athletes for lower leg, ankle and foot injury recovery. Graduated compression helps relieve pain from muscle stiffness and soreness as well as discouraging inflammation.  The socks wicking fabric keeps skin dry and DryStat technology inhibits the growth of odor-causing microbes. The over the calf style works very well for extensor digitorum longus muscle recovery as the sock will cover the entire muscle. Again, if you suspect or have been treated for blood clots, consult with a doctor before using compression on the lower legs.

Self Treatment For Extensor Digitorum Longus Lower Leg Pain

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

Do you know that “knots” and other dysfunction in the extensor digitorum longus can contribute to pain in the lower leg going into the foot?

If you have shin splints, low leg, ankle, and foot pain, I recommend that you purchase Claire Davies The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief Mr. Davies explain 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. If you suffer from unresolved lower leg, shin splints, and foot pain I highly recommend this book. 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. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and self-treating muscle pain.




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