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Extensor Hallucis Longus Muscle: Big Toe Pain

Extensor Hallucis Longus Pain Pattern

The extensor hallucis longus contributes to pain in the big toe, foot, that occasionally extends up into the ankle.

What are the pain and symptoms associated with the Extensor Hallucis Longus muscle?

  • Pain in the top of the feet by the toes
  • Difficulty raising the foot
  • Numbness in the top of the foot
  • Pain in the big toe
  • Recurrent foot cramps at night
  • Pain can travel up to the ankle, which is described to feel like bone pain
  • Contributes to the development of hammer toe and claw toe
  • Contributes to "foot slap"

Where is the extensor hallucis longus muscle?

Extensor Hallucis Longus attaches to the small bone of the lower leg (fibula) and descends down to connect to a bone of the big toe (distal phalanx).

What movements do the extensor hallucis longus control?

  • Bends the big toe up
  • Bends the foot by the ankle up toward the front of the body
  • Assists to turn the sole of the foot inward, toward the other foot
  • Assists to maintain balance

Activities that cause extensor hallucis longus muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Stubbing the toes
  • Kicking a ball
  • Pedaling a bike
  • Climbing stairs
  • Walking in sand
  • Wearing high heels
  • Inactivity of the lower leg due to a cast
  • People who spend hours driving with foot on gas pedal

Interesting facts about the extensor hallucis longus muscles:

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

Extensor Hallucis Longus Anatomy

You use the extensor hallucis longus muscle when you raise the big toe, raise the foot up toward the body and turn the sole of the foot inward.

Clinical diagnoses to which the extensor hallucis longus muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • L4 or L5 Radiculopathy
  • Hammer toes
  • Claw toes
  • Gout

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

Satellite Trigger Points: Peroneus Longus, Peroneus Brevis, Peroneus Tertius, Tibialis Anterior
Associated Organ System: Digestive System

For Anatomy Information See: Extensor Hallucis Muscle Anatomy

Help with Extensor Hallucis Longus Muscle Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Lower Leg Injury and Pain

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 and foot pain has just begun or is from a recent injury I would recommend Biofreeze.

Biofreeze is recommended for recent extensor hallucis longus muscle injury and pain

Hot Cold Pack For Lower Leg and Foot Treatment

CorPak Soft Comfort Hot & Cold Pack Wrap is a versatile pack that can be used to treat the lower leg, foot / ankle, as well as other areas of the body. The pack is filled with pliable gel and has a soft frost free cover that will not irritate your skin. For recent injuries, use it cold to reduce swelling. For older injures or chronic pain use heat to relax the muscles and increase circulation. I suggest this size pack as it can cover the lower leg and then be wrapped around the foot for full treatment of the extensor hallucis longus.


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 inside and front of the leg, down to the top of the foot to the big toe can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the extensor hallucis longus muscle. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and pain from arthritis.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides extensor hallucis longs pain relief.

Graduated Compression Socks for Support and Injury Recovery

Eurosocks Over The Calf 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 wickable fabric keeps skin dry and DryStat technology inhibits the growth of odor causing microbes. The over the calf style works very well for extensor hallucis longus muscle support and recovery as the sock will cover the entire muscle. If you suspect or have been treated for blood clots, consult with a doctor before using compression on the lower legs.

Over the calf graduated compression socks provide support and pain relief for the extensor hallucis muscle

I recommend Yoga Toes Gems for many of my clients who are dealing with foot and/or lower leg pain. The separators not only stretch the muscles of the feet, but also many muscles of the lower leg. Used regularly, Yoga Toes do actually help straighten and align your toes. They can also be helpful for some cases of bunions, hammer toes, and claw toes. I prefer the Yoga Toes Gems because they are more supple, comfortable and easier to use. To increase therapeutic treatment relax while wearing Yoga Toes and them use the massage balls (below) to further massage and relax the muscles of your feet.

Yoga Toes Gems for extensor hallucis longus foot pain

Massage Balls To Relieve Foot Pain

Massage balls can be used to relieve tension in many areas of the body and are exceptionally effective for your feet. I like the Magnificent Rose Massage Ball Set. The set includes a smooth ball and two spiked balls which will give you maximum treatment for various aches and pains in your feet. The balls are sturdy and can deliver very firm pressure. The set comes with instructions and exercises. Rolling your feet takes just a few minutes each day and can deliver excellent results for both foot and lower leg pain.

Massage Balls for foot pain caused by the extensor hallucis muscle

Self Treatment For Low Leg, Foot, and Big Toe Pain

Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunction in the extensor hallucis longus muscle contribute to pain in the lower leg going into the foot and big toe?

If you experience this 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.

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve extensor hallucis longus muscle pain.

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