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Peroneal muscles of the leg - want to learn more about it?

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Peroneal muscles of the leg

The peroneal muscles are a group of two muscles of the leg that lie within the peroneal compartment located at the lateral fibular region. Originating from the fibula and inserting on certain metatarsal bones, those muscles play an important role in the movement of the foot at the ankle joint.

When lowering the foot they can be easily seen forming the surface of the lateral leg. This article will describe the attachments of the two peroneal muscles, namely the fibular longus and brevis, together with their innervartion and some relevant clinical aspects.

Key facts about the peroneal muscles
Fibularis longus

Origin: fibular (head and upper body) and intermuscular septa

Insertion: medial cuneiform and first metatarsal bone

Innervation: superficial fibular nerve

Action: plantar flexion and eversion, support of the transverse arch of the foot

Fibularis brevis

Origin: fibula (distal part)

Insertion: fifth metatarsal bone

Innervation: superficial fibular nerve

Action: plantar flexion and eversion

Clinical implications Atrophy and equinovarus position due to lesion of the superficial fibular nerve

Anatomy

Origins & Insertions

In detail, they are:

  • Fibularis longus muscle/ Peroneus longus muscle (left): originates at the head and the upper body of the fibula and the intermuscular septa. It inserts at the plantar side of the medial cuneiform and first metatarsal bone.
  • Fibularis brevis muscle/ Peroneus brevis muscle: has its origin more distal at the fibula and is covered by the fibularis longus muscle to its most part. Its tendon inserts at the tuberosity of the fifth metatarsal bone.

The tendons of both muscles run caudally towards the foot behind the lateral malleolus and then ventrally along the lateral foot edge. There they are led by two canal-like peroneal retinacula. The superior fibular retinaculum stretches between the lateral malleolus and calcaneus. The inferior fibular retinaculum stretches between the inferior extensor retinaculum of the anterior muscles of the leg and calcaneus.

Innervation

Both peroneal muscles are supplied by the superficial fibular nerve (L5-S1).

Function

The fibularis longus and brevis muscles move both the upper and lower ankle joints. In the upper ankle joint they force a depression of the foot (plantar flexion) as their tendons run behind the flexion-extension axis. In the lower ankle joint their contraction leads to an eversion (pronation) which means that the medial foot edge is lowered whereas the lateral foot edge rises. Additionally the tendon of the fibularis longus muscle supports the transverse arch of the foot.

Recommended video: Functions of the fibularis longus muscle
Functions and anatomy of the fibularis longus muscle shown with 3D model animation.

Clinical Aspects

When the superficial fibular nerve is paralysed the pronation of the foot is severely restricted. Thus the supination predominates so that during the lifting of the foot it simultaneously drifts medially (equinovarus position). When the affected patients try to walk it strikes how they place the lateral foot edge first in each step of the affected leg. Furthermore one may observe a shrinking of the lateral calf due to an atrophy of the peroneal muscles. Common causes for a lesion of the superficial fibular nerve include:

  • injuries to the fibular head
  • a too tight cast or inappropriate splint positioning of the leg
  • polio (infantile paralysis)

Peroneal muscles of the leg - 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.

Sign up for your free Kenhub account today and join over 852,397 successful anatomy students.

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

Show references

References:

  • M. Schünke/E. Schulte/U. Schumacher: Prometheus – LernAtlas der Anatomie – Allgemeine Anatomie und Bewegungssystem, 2.Auflage, Thieme Verlag (2007), S.480-481
  • W. Graumann/D.Sasse: CompactLehrbuch der gesamten Anatomie – Band 2 – Bewegungsapparat, Schattauer Verlag (2003), S.208-210
  • J. W. Rohen: Topographische Anatomie, 10.Auflage, Schattauer Verlag (2008), S.162
  • A. Lange: Physikalische Medizin, Springer Verlag (2003), S.50-51

Author:

  • Achudhan Karunaharamoorthy

Illustrators:

  • Fibularis brevis muscle - axial view - National Library of Medicine
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