The abductor hallucis muscle lies along the inside of the foot and runs from the heel bone inserting onto the side of the big toe. An abductor hallucis strain will cause pain in the arch of the foot as the muscle supports it, and the foot may roll inwards. Relieving pressure from the foot by resting or doing a different activity will ease the foot pain and allow recovery.
Abductor hallucis strain symptoms
The abductor hallucis muscle bends, abducts or moves sideways the big toe and supports the inside arch of the foot. Symptoms of a muscle strain include pain along the inside arch of the foot with more pain and tenderness when pressing into the sole of the foot along the length of the muscle. Many athletes with an abductor hallucis strain tend to overpronate where their feet roll in too much during the gait cycle.
Treatment of abductor hallucis strains
Rest is important. Continuing to train on an injured foot will only make the injury worse or delay the healing process. For a mild strain it may only need a few days rest or change of training activity for example substituting running for cycling or swimming until the pain has gone.
Apply cold therapy or ice as soon as possible. Ice can be applied for 10 minutes every hour initially for the first few hours reducing frequency as pain and swelling go down to 2 or 3 times per day. Taping the arch of the foot can help reduce the stress on the injured muscle allowing the foot to rest more easily. If overpronation or other biomechanical factors are an issue then orthotic type insoles can help support the foot long-term
A doctor or sports injury professional can confirm the diagnosis and may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. Always check with a doctor before taking medication. Electrotherapy such as ultrasound can help with pain and inflammation and, after the initial acute stage, deep tissue sports massage may be of benefit. This may be after 48 hours or up to a week or more depending on how bad the muscle strain is.