Pain on the inside heel and ankle that cause you to limp may be a sign of abductor hallucis muscle dysfunction.

What are the pain and symptoms associated with the abductor hallucis muscle?

  • Pain on the inside of the heel
  • Pain in the inside ankle
  • Pain will often cause a limp
  • Sometimes causes numbness in the big toe and the area just under the big toe
  • Deep aching pain while resting

Where is the abductor hallucis muscle?

The abductor hallucis muscle is located on the bottom of the foot, below the big toe. It connects the heel (calcaneus) to the big toe (proximal phalanx).

What movements does the abductor hallucis control?

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

Activities that cause abductor hallucis muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Walking or running on uneven ground
  • High heels
  • Shoes that are too small
  • Weak ankles

Abductor Hallucis Muscle

You use the abductor hallucis to move the big toe away from the other toes and to bend the big toe downward.

Clinical diagnoses to which the abductor hallucis muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bone Spur
  • Flat Feet
  • Bunions
  • Morton’s foot syndrome
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Sprain/Strain
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome

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

  • Soleus
  • Gastrocnemius
  • Peroneal Muscles
  • Long Flexor Muscles of the Toe
  • Long Extensor Muscles of the Toe

Satellite trigger points associated with the abductor hallucis :

  • Gastrocnemius
  • Deep intrinsic foot muscles

For detailed anatomy information:  Abductor Hallucis Muscle Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Help with Abductor Hallucis Symptoms: Bottom Of The Foot, Heel and Ankle 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 hallucis pain, rub Biofreeze on the inside of the bottom of the foot from the arch including 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 foot including the heel up toward the inside ankle for abductor hallucis muscle 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 (below) 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 Hallucis Muscle Pain

Do you know that small “knots” and other dysfunction in the abductor hallucis muscle can contribute to pain in the bottom of the foot that radiates up the side of the foot and into the ankle?

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 in the bottom and arch of the foot including the heel that radiates up toward the ankle, treating the trigger points in the abductor hallucis muscle of the foot can help reduce or eliminate your 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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