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Flexor Hallucis Longus Muscle: Big Toe and Foot Pain

Areas of pain to which the flexor hallucis longus may contribute

Pain in the big toe going into the ball of the foot under the big toe can be a sign of flexor hallucis longus muscle dysfunction.

What are the pain and symptoms associated with the flexor hallucis longus muscle?

  • Pain in the big toe radiating to the ball of the foot
  • Numbness on the bottom side of the big toe

Where is the flexor hallucis longus muscle?

It is located in the back of the lower leg. The muscle connects to the small bone of the lower leg (fibula) and extends down the back of the leg into the bottom of the foot where it connects to the big toe (distal phalanx).

What movements does the flexor hallucis longus control?

  • It bends the big toe downward
  • It helps you bend the foot downward and point your toes

Activities that cause flexor hallucis longus pain and symptoms:

  • Running or walking on uneven ground
  • Worn shoes
  • Shoes that do not have proper padding in the ball of the foot
  • Wearing flip flops and other open heeled shoes
  • Wearing high heels
  • Walking or running barefoot in deep sand
  • Immobility in the big toe joints due to arthritis or injury

Interesting facts about the flexor hallucis longus muscles:

  • Numbness felt on the bottom of the big toe is a classic sign of flexor hallucis longus dysfunction.
  • Pain caused by the flexor hallucis longus muscle is often diagnosed as gout. If you have been diagnosed with gout and medication does not seem to be working, examine the muscle for trigger points, soreness, and tightness.
  • Wearing flip flops and other open heeled shoes can contribute to problems because the muscle is over-worked. The toes curl and grip each step to hold the shoes in place.
Flexor Hallucis Longus Muscle

You use the flexor hallucis longus muscle when you bend the big toe downward.

Clinical diagnoses to which the flexor hallucis longus symptoms may contribute:

  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Gout
  • Bunion
  • Charcot’s Joint
  • L4 radiculopathy
  • Turf Toe

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

Satellite Trigger Points: Tibialis posterior, Extensor digitorum longus, Extensor digitorum brevis

Affected Organ System: Genitourinary system

For detailed anatomy information: Flexor Hallucis Longus Anatomy

Help with Big Toe and Ball of the Foot Pain Caused by the Flexor Hallucis Longus Muscle

Cold Therapy Gel for Sudden Onset Pain or Pain Due to Recent 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 than warm therapy gels and creams for recent injury muscle pain 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. If your pain is from a recent injury I would recommend Biofreeze. This should be your first choice to use for sudden onset pain in the foot and lower leg pain that is caused by a recently strained or sprained flexor hallucis longus muscle.

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Hot Cold Pack For Lower Leg 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. This pack works well for the flexor hallucis longus as it will cover the length of the calf and can then be used to wrap the foot for full treatment. 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.


Warm Therapy Gel to Relieve Foot and Lower Leg Pain and Cramps

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a warming pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. Unlike other over the counter heating creams, it provides warmth without burning heat. Applying Sombra to the muscles on the back of the leg, down over the heel and covering the inside of the arch up to the big toe can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the flexor hallucis longus muscle. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and pain from arthritis.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides 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 flexor 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

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

Stretch The Calf and Foot Muscles To Relieve Flexor Hallucis Foot and Toe Pain

Medi-Dyne Pro Stretch for Plantar Fascitis and Calf Pain is a device that provides a deep stretch to the foot and lower leg muscles. This device is used in many physical therapists offices and rehab facilities to those who have lower leg pain and cramps and for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. When you first use the Pro Stretch be sure to start off slowly, 5 to 10 seconds per stretch, gradually building up reps and longer stretch times.


Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunction in the flexor hallucis longus muscles can contribute to pain in the big toe that extends into the ball of the foot?

If you have this pain pattern I recommend that you purchase Claire Davies The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief.. Mr. 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. 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 have unresolved pain in the big toe and ball of the foot, you may want to learn about the trigger point in the flexor hallucis longus muscles which can help you resolve your pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

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

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