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Abductor Hallucis Muscle: Foot And Ankle Pain


The abductor hallucis is located on the inner edge of the bottom of the foot below the big toe. The muscle refers pain to the inside of the heel, arch, and the inside ankle. The pain can be severe enough to cause you to limp while walking.

The Location of the Abductor Hallucis Muscle


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

The Abductor Hallucis Muscle Actions Are Big Toe Abduction and Flexion


The primary movement of the abductor hallucis muscle is moving the big toe away from the small toes when spreading the toes. The muscle also bends the big toe down when pointing the toes.

For detailed origin, insertion, and action information: Abductor Hallucis Muscle Anatomy.

Abductor Hallucis Muscle Pain And Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Pain on the inside of the heel and arch
  • 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.

The abductor hallucis muscle pain tends to concentrate on the inside of the foot. Pain starts at the side and bottom of the inside of the heel and moves toward the arch. Pain may also affect the inside ankle. You may also experience numbness and tingling in the big toe that goes down to the area below the toe. The pain will often cause you to limp.

One of the leading indicators of problems with the abductor hallucis muscle is deep aching pain in the muscle when resting.

The abductor hallucis muscle is affected and can affect these conditions.


Products TWD Use and Recommend For Foot Pain

Sombra Warming Gel  is recommended for relaxing muscles and relieving pain. It warms without the burning heat of other gels. An excellent choice for pain caused by trigger points, muscle/joint overuse and stiffness, and arthritis. Somba works well for chronic foot pain; it provides almost instant relief. (Not sold in stores)

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel  is an excellent pain-relieving gel recommended for those with 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. If your pain is from a recent injury, use Biofreeze. It is excellent to use on sprains and strained and sore ankles.

Yoga Toes Gems are highly recommended for foot and lower leg pain. The separators stretch the muscles of the feet and many muscles of the lower leg. Used regularly, Yoga Toes do help straighten and align your toes. They can also be helpful for some cases of bunions, hammertoes, and claw toes. It can also help with issues of plantar fasciitis. For Men's shoe size ten+ and women's shoe size 12+, consider Yoga Toes For Men

The NatraCure Cold/Hot Therapy Wrap is just the right size to use on the bottom of your foot. You can use cold therapy throughout the day to reduce sharp stabbing pains during the day. At night you can use it for heat therapy to ease the pain so you can rest. The wrap can also be used for the ankle, wrist, elbow, and other areas of the body.

The Causes Of Abductor Hallucis Pain

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

Weak ankles are a primary contributor to pain in the abductor hallucis muscle. When the muscles supporting the ankle joint are weak, your foot tends to turn inward or outward. This affects all muscles in the feet, especially those on the inside and outside of the foot.

Shoes that are too big and too small are a leading cause of foot pain. If your shoes are too long or wide, the foot will roll around the shoe, causing extra work and stress on the foot muscles. If your shoes are too short or narrow, the foot is squeezed, and the toes bend to avoid being pressed against the end of the toe box of the shoe.

Wearing high heels throws the body's weight onto the ball of the foot, which affects not only the abductor hallucis muscle but also the ankles, knees, hips, and back.

Walking and running on uneven ground can cause problems for the abductor hallucis muscle if your feet and ankles tend to roll in and out due to rough terrain.

How To Avoid the Development of Trigger Points In The Abductor Hallucis Muscle

Weak muscles in the lower leg and foot are often the root cause of weak ankles. It is important to maintain an exercise and stretching routine that addresses lower leg and foot muscles to keep these muscles strong and flexible to avoid pain in the ankles and feet. An ankle/foot sleeve can provide additional support if your ankles are weak.

Investing in the proper supportive shoes for your activity is important if you are a hiker, runner, or walker. It will decrease your pain and will discourage serious musculoskeletal problems down the road.

Ill-fitting shoes will lead to pain and stiffness in the back, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Wearing shoes that are too large allows the foot to move around in the shoe and causes the toes to grip the sole to try and keep the shoe stable and still. If the shoe is too small, the foot is squeezed, and the toes are bent and mashed together.


Common Locations Of Trigger Points In The Abductor Hallucis Muscle


Check for these trigger points if you are experiencing pain on the inner edge of the heel and foot.

Abductor Hallucis Muscle Self-Treatment Massage

Abductor hallucis trigger points are easily treated with a small hard rubber ball like this one found in a jacks and ball game.

To find the muscle, place your foot flat on the floor and press into the floor with your big toe. Your heel will come up off the floor, and that is okay. You will feel the muscle tighten below the big toe and into the arch. This is the area you need to roll from below the big toe to the front of the heel.

Place the ball on the floor and roll the inner edge of the sole of the foot from below the big toe to the heel. Roll this area 2-3 times daily for 1-2 minutes per treatment. Continue this exercise until the pain is gone.

How Long Before I Feel A Reduction In Pain?

The abductor hallucis is a long, thick muscle. It takes time to work out the pain and soreness.

The good news is if your pain is caused by trigger points, you will feel a reduction of pain after a few days of treatment.


If you find trigger points in the abductor hallucis, you will want to check these muscles for additional trigger points, known as satellite trigger points. 

Recommended Resource

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook is recommended to people who want to learn about trigger points and referred pain. The book includes diagrams and easy-to-follow instructions for treating trigger points throughout the body.

Muscles With Similar Foot Pain Patterns



Clay, J. H., Allen, L., Pounds, D. (2015). Clay & Pounds' Basic Clinical Massage Therapy: Integrating Anatomy and Treatment (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Finando, D., Finando, S. , (2005). Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain: The Practice of Informed Touch (1st ed.) Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Muscolino, J., (2016) Kinesiology: The Skeletal System and Muscle Function (3rd ed.). Maryland Heights, Missouri: Mosby.

Image Credits: Dreamstime