Pain in the ball of the foot extending into the big toe could be a sign of flexor hallucis brevis muscle dysfunction.

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

  • Pain in the ball of the foot extending into the big toe
  • Difficulty and pain when walking
  • Deformed toes
  • Pain lessens when you are not on your feet

Where is the flexor hallucis brevis muscle?

The flexor hallucis brevis is a two headed muscle. The muscle attaches to a tendon toward the bottom of the arch of the foot and continues up the foot becoming two heads at the bottom of the big toe. Each head connects to the big toe, one toward the inside of the toe, one toward the outside.

What movements does the flexor hallucis brevis control?

Bends big toe downward

Activities that cause flexor hallucis brevis muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Second toe is longer than other toes, including the big toe
  • Walking or running on uneven ground
  • Walking, standing or running on hard surfaces
  • High heels
  • Shoes that are too small

Flexor Hallucis Brevis Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

You use the flexor hallucis brevis muscle to bend your big toe downward.

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

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Plantar wart
  • Hammer toe
  • Turf Toe
  • Gout
  • Injured sesamoid bone
  • Ingrown toenail
  • Bunions
  • Corns

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

  • Flexor Hallucis Longus

Satellite trigger points associated with the Flexor Hallucis Brevis:

  • Tibialis posterior
  • Extensor digitorum longus
  • Extensor digitorum brevis

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

Help with Flexor Hallucis Brevis Bottom of the Foot Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Flexor Hallucis Brevis 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 hallucis brevis, rub Biofreeze from the bottom of the arch (covering the arch) up and into the big toe.

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 Gel for Aching Pain 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 from the bottom of the arch (be sure to cover the entire arch area) up and into the big toe.

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 Flexor Hallucis Brevis Pain

Do you know that small “knots” or other dysfunction in the flexor hallucis brevis can contribute to pain in the bottom of the foot near the big toe? This muscle can also contribute to hammer toes and claw toes.

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 of the foot, treating the trigger points in the flexor muscles 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. If you are buying the book, check out the tools below which may help you with treatment if you have problems reaching the bottom of your feet or have weak and / or arthritic hands.

Tools To Treat Foot Pain


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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