The various muscles and tendons surrounding the foot play an important role as they provide stability to the lower parts of the body and allow the individual to move and flex their feet. These various muscles and tendons help support the ankles and allow leg movement. Many people will be on their feet constantly as the world moves and sometimes have to deal with various issues affecting their ability to walk. As the body naturally ages, many people will begin to shuffle their feet around, which causes strain on the foot muscles and can affect the calves and legs over time. To that point, it can lead to foot pain and other conditions that can affect the individual. Other issues that can affect the feet and its muscle could be incorrect footwear, how they are standing, or how they walk. When this happens, conditions like plantar fasciitis and trigger point pain can affect the feet differently. Today’s article focuses on the superficial intrinsic foot muscles, how trigger points and plantar fasciitis correlate with foot pain, and how to strengthen the foot muscles. We refer patients to certified providers incorporating techniques and therapies in the lower body extremities of trigger points affecting the feet. This helps many people with trigger point pain symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis along the intrinsic foot muscles. We encourage and appreciate each patient by referring them to associated medical providers based on their diagnosis when it is appropriate. We understand that education is a terrific way when asking our providers intricated questions at the patient’s request and understanding. Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., only utilizes this information as an educational service. Disclaimer
As stated earlier, the foot has various muscles and tendons that allow stability to the ankles and allow movement when a person is walking. The foot has two muscle groups: the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles. Today we will look at the intrinsic foot muscles and how important these muscles are in the foot. Studies reveal that the intrinsic foot muscles are highly important as they are contained to the foot and contribute to supporting the medial longitudinal arch. The intrinsic foot muscles are superficial and help keep the toes straight while providing flexion and extension when in motion. The foot has about 29 muscles, including 10 surrounding the foot and ankle, while the other 19 are intrinsic and provide the roles for gait and posture. The 19 intrinsic muscles have the following:
These muscles allow individuals to walk, run, or jog without pain. However, when the intrinsic muscles become impaired, studies reveal that intrinsic foot muscle function could be linked to various foot conditions that affect a person’s walking ability.
Studies reveal that foot pain can cause an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience as many factors can affect how a person is walking and can lead to various issues affecting the lower extremities’ mobility. When multiple issues affect how a person walks, the intrinsic muscle and other muscles surrounding the ankle and foot could become strained and overlap with other foot conditions. When foot pain affects the intrinsic foot muscles, co-existing muscle impairments could affect the alignment, motion, load distribution, and muscle performance that involves the legs. When these impairments are causing foot pain, it can correlate with trigger points and conditions like plantar fasciitis that can affect a person walking. But how does foot pain connect with plantar fasciitis and trigger points?
According to Dr. Travell, M.D.’s book “Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction,” when tension starts to overload the foot, the intrinsic muscles develop tiny nodules in the muscle fibers and reduce the muscle strength of the medial arch. To that point, it can collapse and cause the foot to develop inflammation associated with repetitive actions that cause plantar fasciitis in the feet. When this happens, it can affect a person’s ability to walk, run, stand, and affect the lower extremities’ mobility. If it is not treated right away, it can cause muscle and joint pain in the hips, legs, knees, and lower back.
Have you been dealing with issues on your feet? Do you find it difficult to step down or walk? Or have you been rubbing your feet constantly to reduce the soreness in your feet? Many of these issues correlate with trigger points affecting the intrinsic foot muscles that could cause foot issues like plantar fasciitis. The foot has various muscles, like the intrinsic muscles, that allow gait and stability to the body. Multiple factors affecting the intrinsic foot muscles can lead to instability, muscle strain, tendon stress, and muscle and joint pain. This can affect how a person moves throughout the day and their quality of life. The video above explains where each different muscles are, which ones are extrinsic and intrinsic, and how each muscle helps with foot function. When various issues begin to affect the foot and cause mobility issues, multiple techniques are available to help strengthen the foot muscles and prevent future problems from affecting the feet.
Regarding trigger point pain affecting the intrinsic foot muscles, various techniques can reduce the pain-like symptoms of trigger points and prevent foot issues like plantar fasciitis from re-occurring. Studies reveal that light, non-weight-bearing exercises like cycling and swimming can minimize muscle overload on foot. Other ways to strengthen the intrinsic foot muscles are by stretching the toe flexors to help improve stability and prevent hypermobility in the foot. Other techniques that can reduce trigger points in the foot’s muscle fibers include using a cylindrical or spherical object and rolling under the arches to massage and loosen stiff muscles. Many of these techniques could help restore foot functionality and stability while reducing future issues like plantar fasciitis in the feet. To that point, allow people to walk pain-free again.
The foot has 29 muscles, including ten extrinsic muscles surrounding the foot and ankle and 29 intrinsic muscles on the foot. The intrinsic muscles are highly important for foot functionality as they are superficial and contribute to supporting the medial longitudinal arch. The intrinsic foot muscles also help keep the toes straight and allow flexion and extension when in motion. These muscles also help a person walk and stabilize the ankle. When various factors affect a person’s walking ability, it can lead to muscle strain and tendon stress to the foot, leading to the development of trigger points in the intrinsic muscle fibers and causing pain. This could cause foot conditions like plantar fasciitis and other co-existing muscle impairments that can affect the lower extremities’ mobility while causing muscle and joint pain in the hips, legs, knees, and lower back. Luckily there are available techniques that can help massage, stretch, and strengthen the intrinsic foot muscles while reducing trigger points and their associated symptoms from re-occurring. To that point, these techniques can allow many individuals to walk without feeling pain.
Card, Ryan K, and Bruno Bordoni. “Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Foot Muscles.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 27 Feb. 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539705/.
Gooding, Thomas M, et al. “Intrinsic Foot Muscle Activation during Specific Exercises: A T2 Time Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study.” Journal of Athletic Training, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5094843/.
Hawke, Fiona, and Joshua Burns. “Understanding the Nature and Mechanism of Foot Pain.” Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Jan. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2631512/.
Hayter, Matt. “Why Do We Need the Intrinsic Muscles of the Foot? [Guide 2022].” Dynamic Podiatry, 2022, www.dynamicpodiatry.com.au/what-are-the-intrinsic-muscles-of-the-foot-guide-2019/#intrinsic.
Lim, Ang Tee, et al. “Management of Plantar Fasciitis in the Outpatient Setting.” Singapore Medical Journal, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4853481/.
Soysa, Achini, et al. “Importance and Challenges of Measuring Intrinsic Foot Muscle Strength.” Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 26 Nov. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544647/.
Travell, J. G., et al. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual: Vol. 2:the Lower Extremities. Williams & Wilkins, 1999.
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The information herein on "Foot Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, & Trigger Point Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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