The flexor hallucis longus muscle attaches to the small bone in the back of the lower leg, traveling down the leg attaching to a bone in the big toe. Trigger points in the muscle cause pain in the bottom of the big toe and ball of the foot.

Contents of Article
    Flexor Hallucis Longus Muscle Showing Trigger Point Location

    Where Is The Flexor Hallucis Longus Muscle?

    It is located in the back of the lower leg. The muscle attaches to the small bone of the lower leg (fibula) and extends down the back of the leg into the bottom of the foot, where it connects to the big toe (distal phalanx of the hallux).

    What Movements Does It Control?

    • It bends the big toe downward
    • It helps you bend the foot downward and point your toes

    For detailed anatomy information: Flexor Hallucis Longus Anatomy


    Flexor Hallucis Longus Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

    Flexor Hallucis Longus Referred Pain Pattern
    • Pain in the big toe radiating to the ball of the foot
    • Numbness on the bottom side of the big toe

    TWD Recommends

    Neo G Medical Grade VCS Calf Support/Shin Splint provides support and warmth to the lower leg muscles. This brace is recommended for Achilles tendon strains, sprains, and overuse injuries of the lower leg muscles. An excellent choice for compression and support of the tibialis posterior. If you suspect or have ever been diagnosed with blood clots, consult your doctor before using this brace.

    What Causes Flexor Hallucis Longus Trigger Points To Develop?

    • Running or walking on uneven ground
    • Worn shoes
    • Shoes that do not have proper padding in the ball of the foot
    • Wearing flip flops and other open heeled shoes
    • Wearing high heels
    • Walking or running barefoot in deep sand
    • Immobility in the big toe joints due to arthritis or injury

    TWD Recommends

    Sore shins or calves? Feel as if shin splints are coming on? The ProStretch Calf Stretcher & Foot Rocker can help! The stretcher/rocker stretches and helps to relax most of the muscles in the lower leg and foot. Physical therapists use them to treat sore shins and calves and foot pain, and plantar fasciitis.

    Flexor Hallucis Longus Trigger Point Treatment

    Even though trigger points in the flexor hallucis longus refer pain to the bottom of the big toe and ball of the foot, the treatment is applied to the lower leg under the knee.

    To learn how to treat flexor hallucis longus trigger points, TWD recommends The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. The workbook provides diagrams and instructions about finding the trigger point and how to do the treatment. The workbook is recommended to all interested in learning about trigger points and the treatment of muscle pain.

    If you are uncomfortable trying self-treatment, you should consider finding a massage therapist, physical therapist, athletic trainer, or chiropractor trained in trigger point therapy. They can show you how to find and treat the TrP and suggest exercises and stretches that will help strengthen the muscle.

    For the best outcome, trigger points should be treated several times throughout the day until the knot is gone and the area does not produce pain when pressure is applied.

    Sombra Warm Therapy 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 over-use and stiffness, and arthritis. If you have reoccurring leg or foot cramps, you should keep Somba on hand; it provides almost instant relief. (Not sold in stores)

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

    Interesting facts:

    • Numbness felt on the bottom of the big toe is a classic sign of flexor hallucis longus dysfunction.
    • Pain caused by the flexor hallucis longus muscle is often diagnosed as gout. If you have been diagnosed with gout and medication does not seem to be working, examine the muscle for trigger points, soreness, and tightness.
    • Wearing flip-flops and other open-heeled shoes make the toes curl and grip each step to hold the shoes in place, which overworks the muscle.

    TWD Recommends

    Yoga Toes Gems are highly recommended for anyone dealing with foot and 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, hammertoes, and claw toes. It can also help with issues 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 ten and over or women shoe size 12 and over consider Yoga Toes For Men.

    Flexor hallucis longus muscle pain and symptoms can be similar to, contribute to, and be affected by these medical diagnoses:

    • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
    • Gout
    • Bunion
    • L4 radiculopathy
    • Turf Toe


    Other muscles that should be considered and examined:

    Satellite trigger points associated with the flexor hallucis longus muscle:

    Trigger points in the muscle will cause TrPs to develop in other muscles. These are known as satellite trigger points. You will need to check these muscles for additional TrPs.

    • Tibialis posterior
    • Extensor digitorum longus
    • Extensor digitorum brevis

    TWD Recommends

    Massage balls can be used to relieve tension in many areas of the body and are exceptionally effective for your feet. The Flex Fixx Massage Ball 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 provide excellent results for foot and lower leg pain.

    Muscle That Contributes To These Conditions:

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    Muscles With Similar Pain Patterns

    Flexor Digitorum Longus
    Flexor Digitorum Brevis