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Extensor hallucis brevis muscle: want to learn more about it?

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Extensor hallucis brevis muscle

Extensor hallucis brevis muscle (Musculus extensor hallucis brevis)

Extensor hallucis brevis is a short muscle located in the dorsum of the foot, attaching between the calcaneus and proximal phalanx of the big toe (hallux). Along with the extensor digitorum brevis, it belongs to the group of dorsal foot muscles. Sometimes, the fibers of these two muscles fuse, making a single muscle that extends the toes.

Working in synergy with the extensor hallucis longus, the main function of this muscle is to assist in the extension of the big toe at the metatarsophalangeal joint

In this article, we will discuss the anatomy and function of the extensor hallucis brevis muscle.

Key facts about the extensor hallucis brevis muscle
Origin Superolateral surface of calcaneus bone
Insertion Proximal phalanx of great toe
Action Metatarsophalangeal joint 1: Toe extension
Innervation Deep fibular/peroneal nerve (S1, S2)
Blood supply Dorsal artery of foot

Origin and inserton

The short and slender extensor hallucis brevis muscle sits in the lateral aspect of the dorsum of foot. It originates from the superior aspect of calcaneus, just posteriorly to calcaneocuboid joint. It courses medially over the dorsum of the foot, giving off a tendon that inserts onto the base of proximal phalanx of hallux.

Relations

Lying medially to extensor digitorum longus, extensor hallucis brevis is the most medial dorsal foot muscle. Together with the rest of the structures found in this foot compartment, extensor hallucis brevis is covered by the deep layer of fascia of foot, which is a continuation of the deep fascia of leg (crural fascia). Within the dorsal foot compartment itself, extensor hallucis brevis courses deep to the inferior flexor retinaculum and extensor digitorum longus tendons, while it covers the dorsalis pedis artery and deep fibular (peroneal) nerve

The bellies of the extensor digitorum brevis and extensor hallucis longus form a small prominence anteriorly to the lateral malleolus. This elevation is notable and easily palpable when both muscles are active. 

Innervation

Extensor hallucis brevis is innervated by the deep fibular (peroneal) nerve (root value L5-S1).

Blood supply

The blood supply for extensor hallucis brevis muscle comes from the dorsal artery of foot, which is a continuation of the anterior tibial artery.

Functions

Acting together with the extensor hallucis longus, this muscle extends the hallux at the metatarsophalangeal joint. This action results in returning the hallux from the flexed into the neutral position, or in pulling it above the ground if the contraction continues (hyperextension). This movement is important in gait, as raising the big toe clear of the ground facilitates walking and running. 

To expand your knowledge check out our study unit about the dorsal muscles of foot.

Extensor hallucis brevis muscle: want to learn more about it?

Our engaging videos, interactive quizzes, in-depth articles and HD atlas are here to get you top results faster.

What do you prefer to learn with?

“I would honestly say that Kenhub cut my study time in half.” – Read more. Kim Bengochea Kim Bengochea, Regis University, Denver

Show references

References:

  • Moore, K. L., Dalley, A. F., & Agur, A. M. R. (2014). Clinically Oriented Anatomy (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Palastanga, N., & Soames, R. (2012). Anatomy and human movement: structure and function (6th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Standring, S. (2016). Gray's Anatomy (41tst ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.
  • Netter, F. (2019). Atlas of Human Anatomy (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders

Illustrations:

  • Extensor hallucis brevis muscle (Musculus extensor hallucis brevis) - Liene Znotina
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