Sports Performance and The Flexor Hallucis Longus

Stability. Transfer of Force. Running Mechanics. Jumping Mechanics. Agility. All of these are effected by the FHL and the Big Toe.


The Flexor Hallucis Longus is a powerful muscle that sits deep posteriorly in the calf and wraps around the calcaneus to the big toe. The FHL helps control mid foot pronation and supination, as well as transferring force from rear foot to big toe. This is a major contributor to lateral movements, and agility.


"(1) In addition, pressure distribution beneath the metatarsal heads after fasciotomy shifted laterally and posteriorly, indicating that the plantar fascia enables more efficient force transmission through the high gear axis during locomotion. The plantar fascia enables the toes to provide plantar-directed force and bear high loads during push-off."


Taking running mechanics or agility into consideration, the last thing to "push off" is the big toe. When planting and cutting the big toe helps with changing the direction of force. When the FHL is limited, it is limiting your abilities to have better movement causing a braking force rather than accelerative when sprinting in a straight line.


Movement patterns adopted at young ages will also determine how the fascia is shaped and how motor patterns will be developed. Movement Development for young children is important to begin at early stages.


Neural Adaptions


This occurs when motor neurons are sent from the brain to the central nervous system to the muscle junction to contract. When you develop a skill or strength train, more of these motor neurons are created, creating a "memory" for the movement patterns to happen quicker.



Underlying Symptoms


Weakened FHL Tendons can also illicit or even mask as plantar fasciitis, and cause discomfort. "(2)Restriction of FHL excursion was demonstrated in 30 patients by limited hallux metatarsophalangeal joint dorsiflexion when the ankle was dorsiflexed ("FHL stretch test"). The close relationship of the FHL to commonly injured structures (such as the plantar fascia) contributes to significant delays in effective treatment."


If you are experiencing discomfort of "Plantar Fasciitis" schedule a Free Consultation and learn more about our 3 step proven process on how we are helping athletes and general fitness enthusiast performing better and by reducing common overuse injuries.








References:

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11764366/

2.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15829213/


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