Pain on the outside of the heel going up toward the ankle are signs of abductor digiti minimi muscle dysfunction.

What pain and symptoms are associated with the abductor digiti minimi muscle?

  • Pain on the outside of the heel
  • Pain on the bottom of the foot just below the little toe
  • Pain often feels like an ankle sprain
  • Deep aching pain is often felt at rest

Where is the abductor digiti minimi muscle?

The abductor digiti minimi attaches to one of the bones of the little toe (proximal phalanx), runs down the outside of the bottom of the foot and connects to the heel (calcaneus via the plantar aponeurosis).

What movements does the abductor digiti minimi control?

  • Moves the little toe away from other toes
  • Bends the little toe down

Activities that cause abductor digiti minimi muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Walking or running on uneven ground
  • High heels
  • Shoes with a hard inflexible sole
  • Shoes that are too small
  • Weak Ankles

Clinical diagnoses to which the abductor digiti minimi muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bunions
  • Callous or corns
  • Dislocation/Subluxation of the 5th metatarsal
  • Bruise of the 5th metatarsal

Abductor Digiti Minimi Muscle

You use the abductor digit minimi muscle when you move your little toe out and away from the other toes and bend the little toe downward.

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the abductor digiti minimi muscle:

  • Flexor Digiti Minimi
  • Quadratus Plantae
  • Interossei Muscles

For Anatomy Information See: Abductor Digiti Minimi Muscle Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Help with Abductor Digiti Minimi Muscle Foot and Heel Pain

Cold Therapy Treatment For Pain In The Foot, Heel, and Ankle

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 abductor digiti minimi pain, rub Biofreeze on the outside and bottom of the foot by the little toe and the outside of the heel and up into the ankle.

Foot Wrap For Hot / Cold Treatment and Compression

The ActiveWrap Foot and Ankle Wrap will provide 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.

Warm Therapy for Post Injury Pain and Arthritis Foot 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, 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 bottom of the outside of the foot by the little toe, going down the outside of the foot to the heel and up into the ankle to treat abductor digiti minimi 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 FlexFixx 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.

Yoga Toes to Stretch and Relax Lower Leg and Foot Muscles

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 then use the massage balls (above) to further massage and relax the muscles of your feet.

For Men’s shoe size 10 and over or women shoe size 12 and over consider Yoga Toes For Men

Self Treatment Help For Abductor Digiti Minimi Muscle Pain

Do you know that small “knots” and other dysfunction in the abductor digiti minimi can cause pain on the outside of your foot that extends into the heel? It can also contribute to a spot of pain just under the little toe.

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. 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 on the outside and bottom of the foot, and/or a painful spot just under the little toe, treating the trigger points in the abductor digiti minimi 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.

Trigger Point Tools To Treat The Bottom Of The Foot


The Thera Cane Massager is my first choice of purchase with the workbook for two reasons: First, you can easily reach the bottom of your feet without the need to bend or contort your body. Secondly, once you understand trigger points, you will find that you will want to treat other muscles and you may need help accessing the muscles. The Thera Cane allows you to easily treat all muscles of the body, including back muscles. If you have weak or arthritic hands, you may need a tool to help you use and hold the pressure required for trigger point treatment.  If you are buying the workbook, the Thera Cane is worth the investment!

The Knobble

If you are limber but have issues with pain in your hands, The Knobble works great to treat muscles in the sole of the foot. It is easily gripped and the point is nicely rounded to apply even pressure with out feeling sharp and pokey. The Knobble will also help you treat many other points throughout the body with the exception of muscles located in the back. A great tool for runners who treat foot and leg trigger points on a regular basis.

Donna Martin

Massage Therapist Owner: Twelve years of experience working with clients with chronic pain, post injury pain, and post surgery pain. Muscle dysfunction is often overlooked but can hold the key to many pain conditions.

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