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Flexor Digitorum Brevis Muscle: Pain In The Ball of Foot

(Last Updated On: August 10, 2018)

The flexor digitorum brevis muscle can cause sharp pain across the ball of the foot while walking and deep aching pain while resting.

What are the pain and symptoms associated with the flexor digitorum brevis muscle?

  • Pain in the ball of the foot just under the four small toes
  • Pain is often described as a feeling of walking on sharp pointed rocks
  • Deep aching pain while resting
  • Tendency to limp while walking
  • Arch supports and orthotics make the pain worse

Where is the flexor digitorum brevis muscle located?

The flexor digitorum brevis is located on the bottom of the foot in the center of the arch. It connects the heel bone (calcaneus) to the middle bones (middle phalanx) of the four small toes.

What movements do the flexor digitorum brevis control?

It bends (flexes) the four small toes.

Activities that cause flexor digitorum brevis muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Walking on uneven ground
  • Stubbing toes
  • Shoes that are too narrow and pinch toes together or are not long enough for toes lay comfortably
  • A pronated foot (walking on the inside of the foot)

Suggested Items To Help Reduce Pain Flexor Digitorum Brevis Pain:

Arch supports and orthodics will increase flexor digitorum brevis pain. Metatarsal pads however will provide cushion to ease pain.

Pain in the ball of the foot can be caused by injury and/or inflammation of the flexor digitorum brevis. Cooling socks can reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Flexor Digitorum Brevis Muscle

You use the flexor digitorum brevis muscle to bend your four small toes.

Interesting facts about the flexor digitorum brevis muscles:

  • Pain in the ball of the foot is the most common complaint of foot pain.
  • Pain in the ball of the foot is often thought to be Metatarsalgia.
  • Though the muscle is located in the arch, it does not contribute to pain in the arch.
  • If arch supports increase pain in the ball of the foot, the problem is most likely the flexor digitorum brevis.
  • Flexor digitorum brevis muscle pain is often diagnosed as plantar fasciitis.

Clinical diagnoses to which the flexor digitorum brevis muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Plantar wart
  • Bone spur
  • Flat feet
  • Fallen arches
  • Bunions
  • L4 L5 radiculopathy
  • Charcot’s Joint


Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the flexor digitorum brevis muscle:

Satellite trigger points associated with the :

  • Tibialis posterior
  • Flexor digitorum longus
  • Flexor hallucis brevis

Help with Flexor Digitorum Brevis Pain in the Bottom of the Foot

Cold Therapy Gel For Flexor Digitorum Brevis 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. To treat pain attributed to the flexor digitorum brevis, rub Biofreeze on the bottom of the foot, from the heel into the the arch and up to the bottom of the toes. Biofreeze has helped many people reduce the sharp pain while walking.

NatraCure Cold/Hot Therapy Wrap For Foot Pain

The flexor digitorum brevis can contribute to sharp shooting pain in the bottom of the foot, especially when walking. Using cold therapy can help reduce this pain. The muscle can also cause a deep aching pain when you are trying to rest. For this pain, using heat will help relax the muscle, thus reducing the pain.

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 the 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 is made of neoprene with a velcro closure that allows you to adjust compression. The wrap can also be used for the ankle, wrist, elbow and other areas of the body.

Warm Therapy Gel for Aching In The Bottom of Feet

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and in my massage therapy practice. It provides warmth without burning heat and is great for relieving pain. Apply Sombra to the bottom of the feet from heel to the toes to reduce the deep aching that can be caused by flexor digitorum brevis injury or dysfunct‭ion.

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 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 help straighten and align your toes. They can also be helpful for some cases of bunions, hammer toes, and claw toes. It can also help with cases of plantar fasciitis. 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 Stabbing Pain in the Ball of the Foot

Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunction in the flexor digitorum brevis can cause stabbing sharp pain in the ball of the foot when walking?

If this pain pattern sounds familiar 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 and 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 foot pain that includes a stabbing pain in the ball of the foot, it maybe trigger points in the flexor digitorum brevis muscle. Deactivating trigger points can reduce or eliminate this pain. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.


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