Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendinitis



Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendinitis: The flexor hallucis longus muscle tendon unit starts from the back of your leg, runs along the inside of your ankle to the bottom of your foot and inserts into the bottom end of your big toe. It is the muscle that is primarily responsible for bending your big toe.

Whenever this muscle is flexed it shortens pressing the big toe firmly against the ground, this puts stress across the muscle which it is normally used to. The problem arises when the tendon rubs improperly against something, is overused or too much weight is stressed upon it. This leads to a state known as inflammation where the tendon starts to break down and is attempting to heal itself.


Causes of Flexor Hallucis Tendonitis

-Flexor hallucis tendonitis is usually caused by gradual wear and tear of the tendon due to irritation or overuse, it is extremely common in people who push off with their big toe very often such as a ballerina dancer.


Symptoms of Flexor Hallucis Tendonitis

-Flexor hallucis tendonitis usually is most evident during extremely forceful bending of the big toe joint in a downward direction. As the condition becomes more severe, it will also be felt in the mornings, after periods of inactivity until you can get the blood flow and work through the pain. The pain will gradually worsen over time if it is not corrected.


Diagnosis of Flexor Hallucis Tendonitis

-This condition is diagnosed by a physical exam by your podiatrist and confirmed by ruling out other common conditions through X-ray and MRI.

Treatment of Flexor Hallucis Tendonitis

  • Taping: A method of taping called a Low Dye Taping can be a cheap and easy way to see if it is a biomechanical problem that is easily correctable.
  • Ice: This is not just about pain! It will decrease the inflammation and decrease the time needed to heal. Put ice in a bag and hold apply it for 15-20 minutes every 1-2x per day until it starts getting better. Leave some cloth inbetween the ice and the skin.
  • Elevation: Like above, it is more than about pain. Recline in a chair and elevate our foot while watching tv, the more the better, elevation can take days or weeks off your healing time.
  • Pain medication: Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories are amazing at reducing inflammation. The goal is to continue it regularly for 1-2 weeks not for pain but to raise anti-inflammation levels in your blood so that it has a chance to heal. This is not just for pain!
  • Tight Calf Muscles – Stretching your calves is crucia in relieving the pain in the second toe. WATCH VIDEO
  • Combine Them– Icing, elevation, non-weight bearing and pain medication gives you the best chance at healing as quickly as possible.


Podiatrist Treatment of Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendinitis:

  • Get an Xray.
  • Get an MRI.
  •  These imaging test can rule out the presence of an ossicle called the Os Trigonum which may be irritating the flexor hallucis longus.


Good luck!