on the Bottom of the Foot:
|There are four layers of
muscles on the bottom of the foot. The
the most superficial layer, which lies beneath a thick band of fibrous
connective tissue called fascia, has three muscles:
On the medial side
(the side the big toe is on), there's the Abductor
Hallucis Muscle stabilizes the big toe by
pulling it away from the second toe.
Digitorum Brevis Muscle lies in the
central portion of the foot, and it helps pull the toes down, a motion called
On the outside (lateral portion) of the foot lies the Abductor
Digiti Minimi Muscle. This muscle
stabilizes the little toe by pulling it away from the fourth toe.
||The Second Layer of
muscles consists of the Quadratus Plantae
Muscle, which attaches to and redirects
the pull of the Flexor Digitorum Longus tendon coming down from the leg.
This helps pull the four small toes down against the ground (plantarflexes
This layer also contains three small muscles called the Lumbricales.
The lumbricale muscles actually have a somewhat complicated function for such
small muscles. They help pull the toe down against the floor at the joint
where the toes attach to the foot, yet help extend (or raise up) the toes at the
next joint. Basically, they help balance the effects of the large muscles
that pull the toes up and down. The word 'Lumbricale' means 'earthworm' in
Latin, a reference to the small, narrow appearance of the muscle.
|The Third Layer
of muscles has three more muscles:
Hallucis Brevis Muscle helps pull the big
toe down (plantarflexes it) against the ground.
The Ad helps stabilize the big
toe by pulling it towards the second toe. (It counters the pull of the
Abductor Hallucis Muscle described above.) This tendon is a deforming
force in in many
Digitorum Brevis Muscle pulls the four
small toes down against the ground (plantarflexes them).
||The Fourth Layer of muscles consists of four Dorsal
Interosseous Muscles and three Plantar
Interosseous Muscles. These seven muscles stabilize the
small toes so they don't drift towards or away from the adjacent toes.
on the Top of the Foot:
While the bottom of the foot
has seventeen muscles, the top of the foot only has one.
Digitorum Brevis Muscle attaches
to the top of the foot to help dorsiflex (lift up) the toes. It is
pictured in the diagram to the left on the top of the foot.
that attach into the foot from the leg:
In addition to the small
muscles of the foot described above, there are quite a few muscles that attach
into the foot from the leg.
On the front or anterior portion of the leg
is what's known as the Anterior Muscle Group.
The Tibialis Anterior Muscle
helps lift the foot against the ankle (Dorsiflexes it) and inverts it (pulls the
sole of the foot so that it faces the opposite foot).
Hallucis Longus Muscle helps raise the big
toe up (dorsiflexes it).
Digitorum Longus Muscle helps raise the
small toes up (dorsiflexes them). This muscle may be involved in the
"extensor substitution" variety of
Tertius Muscle helps lift the foot against
the ankle, and it everts it (pulls the sole of the foot so that it faces away
from the opposite foot.
|The muscles on the outside of
the leg is known as the Lateral Muscle Group.
It consists of two muscles,
the Peroneus Longus
and Peroneus Brevis Muscles.
These muscles pull the foot down (plantarflexes it, like you'd push down on a
pedal) and roll the foot in, as though you'd be standing more on your
big toe joint.
The Peroneus Longus also has the effect
of stabilizing the first metatarsal bone, and when the pull of this muscle is
abnormal because of a foot that has an arch that collapses too much,
this muscle may play a role in the development of
Muscle Group of the leg is divided into two
The superficial group
consists of three muscles.
consists of two main muscle bellies, the medial and lateral heads of the
muscle (see left).
Beneath the gastrocnemius is the Soleus
(see right) muscle.
A small additional muscle, the Plantaris,
runs next to the soleus muscle.
These muscles come together near the
foot to create the major tendon in the foot known as the calcaneal or
Achilles tendon. We've devoted a web page to
This tendon pulls the foot down, like you'd move the foot if you
pushed down on the gas pedal in your car.
The Deep Group
muscles on the back of the calf, (lying beneath the gastrocnemius and
soleus muscles) consists of:
Hallucis Longus Muscle pulls the
big toe down against the ground (plantarflexes it).
Digitorum Longus Muscle, which splits into
several small tendons that attach into the smaller toes to pull the small
toes down against the ground (plantarflexes them). When the foot flattens
more than it should, this muscle may be involved in the formation of
"flexor stabilization" variety of
Tibial Muscle is the primary
"supinator" of the foot, meaning it's the main muscle used
when the foot pushes off in gait. We have a web page devoted
to the problems associated with
Tibial Tendon Dysfunction.