Dorsiflexion

Resisted dorsiflexion

Dorsiflexion is the movement that occurs at the ankle where the foot lifted upwards. It is the opposite of plantar flexion, which is pointing the foot downwards as occurs when going up onto your toes.

Which muscles dorsiflex the ankle?

Tibialis Anterior

Tibialis Anterior - Inflammation

Tibialis anterior is the large muscles on the outside of the shin. It is the strongest dorsiflexor of the ankle.

  • Origin: Upper 1/2 of lateral and anterior surfaces of the tibia. 
  • Insertion: Inner surface of the medial cuneiform and 1st metatarsal.
  • Actions: Inversion & Dorsiflexion. 
  • Innervation: Deep peroneal nerve. 
  • Daily uses: Walking – to lift the foot up and clear the ground.
  • Example strengthening exercises: Toe raises. 
  • Example stretches: Shin stretch.
  • Related injuries: Anterior compartment syndrome.

Extensor hallucis longus

Extensor Hallucis Longus Muscle

The extensor hallucis longus is the only ankle muscle responsible for extending (pulling back) the big toe. The word ‘hallucis’ means big toe.

  • Origin: Middle 2/3 of the inner surface of the front of the fibula.
  • Insertion: Distal phalanx of the big toe.
  • Actions: Extension of the big toe. Dorsiflexion Inversion.
  • Innervation: Peroneal (fibular) nerve.
  • Daily uses: Walking up the stairs it pulls the big toe up to clear the step.
  • Example strengthening exercises: Toe raises.
  • Related injuries: Extensor tendonitis.
  • Related muscles: Tibialis anterior. Extensor digitorum longus.

Extensor digitorum longus

Extensor Digitorum Longus Muscle

Extensor digitorum longus (often shortened to EDL) is found in the front of the lower leg, in the outer more muscle-bound compartment.

  • Origin: Lateral condyle of the tibia.
    Head and anterior surface of the fibula.
    Interosseous membrane (between tibia and fibula).
  • Insertion: Dorsal (top) surface of the middle and end phalanges of the four outer toes.
  • Actions: Extends toes. Dorsiflexion. Eversion.
  • Innervation: Peroneal (Fibular) nerve.
  • Daily uses: Walking upstairs and making sure the toes clear the steps.
  • Example strengthening exercises: Toe raises.
  • Example stretches: Shin stretch.
  • Related injuries: Extensor tendonitis

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