Pain in the low leg, ankle, heel, foot, and weak ankles can be signs of peroneus tertius muscle dysfunction.


What symptoms and pain are associated with the peroneus tertius muscle?

  • Pain at the bottom of the front of the leg that descends into the top of the foot and radiates toward the out to the ankle
  • Pain on the outside of the heel
  • Weak and/or buckling ankles
  • Pain surges with each step

Where is the peroneus tertius muscle?

The peroneus tertius muscle attaches toward the bottom the small bone of the lower leg (fibula) going down the leg passing in front of the outer ankle bone (lateral malleolus) and connects to the top bone (metatarsal) of the little toe.

What movements does the peroneus tertius muscle control?

  • Helps to raise the foot up toward the body
  • Helps to turn the sole of the foot out

Activities that cause peroneus tertius pain and symptoms:

  • Twisting the ankle
  • Immobilization of the leg and foot in a cast or brace
  • Crossing legs at the ankles when seated
  • Tight elastic bands around the leg
  • High heels

Peroneus Tertius Muscle

You use the peroneus tertius when you turn the sole of your foot toward the outside and bend your foot up toward your body.

Interesting facts about the peroneus tertius muscle:

  • Pain and ankle weakness felt in every step at the front of the leg where the leg goes into the foot  is a prime indicator of trigger points in the peroneus tertius muscle. These symptoms are often diagnosed as ligament or tendon injury, tendinitis, or osteoarthritis.
  • This muscle is absent in 8% of the population.

Clinical diagnoses to which the peroneus tertius muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Peroneal Nerve Entrapment Syndromes
  • L5 S1 S2 radiculopathy
  • Morton foot structure
  • Lateral Compartment Syndrome
  • Ankle Sprain/Strain Syndrome
  • Gout
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendon rupture or tear

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the peroneus tertius:

Satellite trigger points associated with the peroneus tertius:

  • Peroneus Longus
  • Peroneus Brevis
  • Extensor Digitorum Longus
  • Tibialis Anterior
  • Tibialis Posterior
  • Extensor Hallucis Longus
  • Flexor Hallucis Longus
  • Anterior Gluteus Minimus

For detailed anatomy information:  Peroneus Tertius Anatomy

Help with Peroneus Tertius Muscle Injury and Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Ankle and Heel Injury

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. If  your pain is from a recent injury I would recommend Biofreeze. This is excellent to use on sprain, strained and sore ankles.

Cold and Hot Wrap For Ankle, Heel and Foot Pain

The Elasto Gel Foot and Ankle Wrap is an ankle and foot wrap that can be heated for warm therapy or kept in the freezer for cold therapy. This is a wrap that I recommend  that everyone have on hand for quick application for a sprained ankle. Runners and athletes who are prone to ankle injuries should always have a cold wrap at the ready.  For old injuries and stiff ankles this wrap works well when heated to help relieve muscle and joint pain and stiffness.

Warm Therapy Gel For Ankle and Heel Pain

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.  Applying Sombra to the muscles on the back of the leg, and down the side to and around the ankle can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the peroneus tertius muscle.  I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and pain from arthritis. If you have sprained or strained the ankle, I recommend Biofreeze above.

Graduated Compression Socks for Support and Recovery

Eurosocks Over The Calf Compression Socks have become a go-to for both amateur and professional athletes for lower leg, ankle and foot injury recovery. Graduated compression helps relieve pain from muscle stiffness and soreness as well as discouraging inflammation. The socks wickable fabric keeps skin dry and DryStat technology inhibits the growth of odor causing microbes. The over the calf style works very well for peroneus tertius muscle recovery as the sock will cover the entire muscle. If you suspect or have been treated for blood clots, consult with a doctor before using compression on the lower legs.

Support Brace For Ankle Injury and Pain

ASO Stabilizing Ankle Brace is a support for ankles that is recommended by doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers. The brace is adjustable to not only provide support but also comfort. I like this support for peroneus tertius muscle problems because it not only supports the ankle but also provides support for the heel and arch. This is great for those who suffer from weak ankles and chronic ankle pain to provide support for ankle strain and sprains.

Self Treatment Technique For Lower Leg, Ankle and Heel Pain

Do you know that small knots and other dysfunction in the peroneus tertius muscle can contribute to weak buckling painful ankles?

If you have any of these symptoms  I  recommend that you purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explain 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 have unresolved ankle pain, weak buckling ankles and heel pain you may want to learn about the trigger point in the peroneus tertius muscle which may help you resolve your pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

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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