The flexor hallucis brevis is a small, intrinsic muscle of the foot. As part of the third plantar muscle layer, it is located on the medial side of the foot and has two heads of origin: the lateral head and the medial head.
The lateral head originates from the plantar surfaces of the cuboid and lateral cuneiforms, while the medial head arises from the tendon of the posterior tibialis tendon. The two heads then come together and form a single muscle belly that attaches to the base of the proximal phalanx of the great toe.
The primary action of the flexor hallucis brevis is to flex the great toe at the metatarsophalangeal joint. This muscle is innervated by the medial plantar nerve and receives its blood supply from the posterior tibial and fibular arteries.
Due to the location and function of the flexor hallucis brevis, it can become strained or torn during activities such as running and jumping. A strained or torn flexor hallucis brevis can result in pain, swelling, and inability to flex the great toe. This condition is known as flexor hallucis brevis tendinopathy.
Flexor hallucis brevis tendinopathy may also result from excessive stress or overuse, such as excessive running, jumping, or even prolonged walking. It can also be caused by a traumatic injury, such as a sprain or fracture to the foot.
The treatment for flexor hallucis brevis tendinopathy is aimed at reducing pain and inflammation, improving flexibility and strength, and preventing the condition from recurring.
Non-surgical treatment may include rest, ice therapy, physical therapy, stretching, orthotic devices, and wearing rigid supportive shoes. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, may also be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
In some cases of severe or chronic flexor hallucis brevis tendinopathy, surgery may be necessary to repair or release the tendon. After surgery, physical therapy is usually recommended to help restore strength and flexibility to the area.
The best way to prevent flexor hallucis brevis tendinopathy is to take preventive measures to protect the foot from overuse or trauma. Wearing proper footwear, avoid increasing activity levels too quickly, and stretching regularly can all help to protect the foot from strain or injury.
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