What muscles are involved in a leg

Anatomy of the lower extremities - muscles of the lower leg and foot

The group of Dorsiflexors is composed Tibalis anterior muscle, Extensor digitorum longus muscle, Extensor hallucis longus muscle and Peroneus tertius muscle. She will too ventral lower leg muscle group called. They are located in the ventral muscle box between the front edge of the tibia and the septum intermusculare cruris anterius on the front of the lower leg.

Note for all innervated muscles: The fibular nerve and the peroneal nerve are identical. It is just a different, synonymous terminology.

´Picture: “Muscles of the Lower Leg” by Phil Schatz. License: CC BY 4.0. Changes have been made: This is only part of the original image.

Tibialis anterior muscle

The tibialis anterior muscle arises from the Lateral condyle and proportionally on the lateral surface of the tibia as well as on the Membrana interossea cruris and the Intermuscular septum. He pulls under the Rectinaculum extensorum superius et inferius to the Os cuneiform I (medial / plantar) and Os metatarsal I (base). With active innervation by the Deep fibular nerve (L5 - S1) it acts as a dorsiflexor of the foot.

Exam tip: In some anatomy books, its synergetic function in the lower ankle is controversial. It is therefore advisable to consult the most up-to-date literature when studying.

In addition to its primary function, the tibialis anterior muscle is capable of supination or adduction of the foot. It is a stabilizer of the ankle joint in the initiation of the standing leg phase.

If the Deep fibular nerve it comes to the so-called Stepper gait phenomenon, which can be supplied with a peroneal splint in the practice and treated with physiotherapeutic interventions.

Extensor digitorum longus muscle

The origins of the Extensor digitorum longus muscle are the Lateral condyle of the tibia, the Ventral margin of the head of the fibulae and the Membrana interossea cruris. He moves to Dorsal aponeurosis of the second to fifth toes, is dated Deep fibular nerve (L4 - S1) innervates and dorsiflexes the upper ankle.

In addition to its primary function, it synergizes pronation in the lower ankle and extension of toes two to four.

Extensor hallucis longus muscle

The long big toe extensor muscle arises from the distal 2/3 of the medial facies and the Membrana interossea cruris and advertises on the dorsal terminal phalanx of the big toe. He gets through that Deep fibular nerve (L5 - S1) its innervation and extends the ankle joint.

In addition to its primary function, it acts as a pronator in the lower ankle and as an extensor of the base and end joints of the big toe.

Peroneus tertius muscle

This small muscle arises from the Margo anterior fibulae and advertises on the Base of the metatarsal V.. He is from Deep fibular nerve (L4 - S1) motorized and provides dorsiflexion in the upper ankle.

The peroneus tertius is inconsistent and is absent in around eight percent of the world's population. Its attachment is now and then also on the dorsal aponeurosis of the fifth toe or on the IV metatarsal. In addition to its primary function, it acts as a pronator in the lower ankle.

Plantar flexors of the upper ankle

Triceps surae muscle, Plantaris muscle, Tibialis posterior muscle, Flexor digitorum longus muscle, Flexor hallucis longus muscle as well as the Musculi peroneus longus et brevis form the group of Plantar flexors.

In some older anatomy books, this group is also referred to as the superficial layer of the dorsal group of the lower leg muscles. The peronei form their own sub-group: the peroneal or lateral lower leg muscle group.

Image: “Muscles of the Lower Leg” by Phil Schatz. License: CC BY 4.0. Changes have been made: This is only part of the original image.

Triceps surae muscle

The Triceps surae is from Gastrocnemius muscle (Caput mediale et laterale) and from Soleus muscle educated.

The Gastrocnemius caput mediale muscle arises proximal to the medial femoral condylewhile thatLateral caput proximal to the lateral femoral condyle has its origin. Both advertise on the Achilles tendon Calcaneal tuberosity and are through the Tibial nerve (S1 - S2) innervated. It is the strongest plantar flexor in the ankle.

The smaller soleus muscle has its origin in the Dorsal aspect of the caput and collum fibulae as well as the Arcus tendineus tibiae at the Linea musculi solei. He advertises on the Achilles tendon Calcaneal tuberosity and receives through the Tibial nerve (S1 - S2) its innervation. Together with the gastrocnemius, it synergizes the plantar flexion in the ankle joint.

In some people, the soleus muscle can also pass through the segment L5 be supplied. In addition to their primary function, the gastrocnemius and soleus can supinate the lower ankle.

Plantaris muscle

This muscle has its origin proximal to the lateral femoral condyle (dorsal) and advertised on Calcaneal tuberosity. With active innervation by the Tibial nerve (L4 - S1) it acts as a plantar flexor in the upper ankle.

The Plantaris muscle can in some people additionally through the segment L4 be supplied. In addition to its primary function, it is a flexor and internal rotator of the knee joint and a supinator of the lower ankle joint.

Tibialis posterior muscle

The origins of the Tibialis posterior muscle are the Membrana interossea cruris as well as the Dorsal margins of the tibia and fibula. He advertises on the Navicular tuberosity, the Plantar surface of the cuneiform bone I - III as well as the Metatarsal bone II - IV. He becomes through the Tibial nerve (L5 - S1) innervates and plantar flexes the upper ankle.

In some people, the tibialis posterior muscle can also pass through the segment L4 be supplied. In addition to its primary function, it can supinate the lower ankle and serves as a tensioner for the transverse and longitudinal arch of the foot.

Flexor digitorum longus muscle

The Flexor digitorum longus muscle arises on middle third of the posterior tibiae and takes place at the Plantar side of the base of the terminal phalanges II - V his approach. It receives its innervation through the Tibial nerve (L5 - S2) and flexes the ankle joint.

In addition to its primary function, it is a supinator of the lower ankle and can flex the toe joints. It also serves to maintain the longitudinal arch of the foot.

Flexor hallucis longus muscle

The origins of the long big toe flexor muscle are these distal 2/3 of the posterior tibiae face as well as the Membrana interossea cruris. He inserts on the plantar Terminal phalanx of the big toe as well as the plantar terminal phalanges of toes two and three. It acts as a plantar flexor in the ankle joint when it passes through the Tibial nerve (L5 - S2) is actively innervated.

He is on the so-called Plantar chiasm with the tendons of the Flexor digitorum longus muscle connected. In addition to its primary function, it is a supinator in the lower ankle and a flexor of the big toe. Furthermore, it can flex the second and third toe and serves as a tensioner for the longitudinal arch of the foot.

Peroneus longus muscle

The long peroneal muscle arises on the Head fibulae and proximal 2/3 of the facies lateralis fibulae, the Fascia cruris and the Septum intermusculare anterius et posterius cruris. He advertises plantar on Medial cuneiform bone as well as the Basis ossis metatarsale I. With active innervation by the Superficial fibular nerve (L5-S1) it serves as a plantar flexor of the ankle joint.

In some people, the peroneus longus muscle can also pass through the segment L4 be supplied. In addition to its primary function, it serves as a pronator of the lower ankle joint and actively tensions the longitudinal and transverse arches of the foot.

Peroneus brevis muscle

The small peroneal muscle has its origin on the distal half of the Facies lateralis fibulae as well as the Septum intermusculare anterius et posterius cruris. His approach is to the Metatarsal tuberosity V. and its innervation is carried out by the Superficial fibular nerve (L5 - S1). It is a plantar flexor of the ankle joint.

The Peroneus brevis muscle can in some people additionally through the segment L4 be supplied and insert on the dorsal aponeurosis of the fifth toe.

Pronators or abductors of the lower ankle joint

The pronator / abductor group is formed from specific muscles of the dorsal extensors and plantar flexors, which have synergistic abilities due to the functional anatomy.

  • Peroneus brevis muscle: During contraction, this muscle is able to abduct the forefoot by simultaneously lifting the metatarsal V (outer edge of the foot). Due to the ligamentous connection, the cuboid bone moves with the fifth metatarsal, as does the navicular bone and the calcareous nerve. The calcaneus also moves dorsally, narrowing the tarsal sinus.
  • Peroneus longus muscle: The long peroneal muscle pulls the forefoot laterally with a simultaneous lowering of the medial edge of the foot. This takes place via the connection to the cuneiform I and the metatarsal I.
  • Extensor digitorum longus muscle: It synergizes both peronei during their movement through its fibrous parts.

Supinators or adductors of the lower ankle joint

Like the pronator group, the group of spinators is made up of muscles of the dorsal extensors and plantar flexors. Due to their connections to certain bony structures in the foot, they have a synergistic effect in lifting the inside of the foot.

  • Tibialis anterior muscle: He pulls the foot in adduction by lifting the inner edge of the foot. Its connection with the first cuneiform and first metatarsals also ensures that the entire forefoot follows this movement.
  • Tibialis posterior muscle: The tibialis posterior takes on most of the adductive movement component. It pulls the navicular bone medially, which takes the cuboid bone with it via ligamentous connections. Likewise, the calcaneus follows the movement medially through its connection with the cuboid and widens the sinus tarsi.
  • Triceps surae muscle: It synergizes the supination from the rear foot. It valgizes the heel, thereby shifting the majority of its fibrous parts over the supinator-pronator axis. Biomechanically, its supinatory function is much more pronounced.

Muscles of the dorsum pedis

Only two muscles make up the dorsum pedis group: Extensor digitorum brevis muscle and Extensor hallucis brevis muscle.

Image: “Intrinsic Muscles of the Foot” by Phil Schatz. License: CC BY 4.0. Changes have been made: This is only part of the original image.

Extensor digitorum brevis muscle

The Extensor digitorum brevis muscle arises from the Dorsal surface of the calcaneus and advertises on the Dorsal aponeurosis of the second to fourth toes. He becomes through the Deep fibular nerve (L5 - S1) innervated and is a dorsiflexor of toes two through four. He can also insert on the fifth toe and therefore extend it.

Extensor hallucis brevis muscle

The origins of the Extensor hallucis brevis muscle are the Dorsal surface of the calcaneus as well as that Interosseous talocalcaneum ligament and his approach the Basal phalanx as Dorsal aponeurosis of the big toe. With active innervation by the Deep fibular nerve (L5 - S1) it acts as a dorsiflexor of the big toe.

The extensor hallucis brevis muscle is part of the extensor digitorum brevis muscle. Since it belongs to the extensor digitorum brevis muscle itself, it can synergize the extension of the toes two to four or five.

Muscles of the planta pedis

Image: “Intrinsic Muscles of the Foot” by Phil Schatz. License: CC BY 4.0. Changes have been made: This is only part of the original image.

Flexor digitorum brevis muscle, Quadratus plantae muscle, Lumbrical muscles and Musculi interossei dorsales et plantares form the big one Planta pedis muscle group.

Flexor digitorum brevis muscle

Plantar on Calcaneal tuberosity and the Plantar fascia originates from Flexor digitorum brevis muscle and is attached to the plantar side of the base and middle phalanges of toes two to five. With active innervation by the Medial plantar nerve (L5 - S1) he flexes the metatarsals and median joints of toes two to five.

At the level of the proximal phalanx, it creates a tendon slit through which the respective flexor tendon passes. This gives this section its special name Perforans muscle. In addition to its primary function, it serves to tension the longitudinal arch of the foot.

Quadratus plantae muscle

The Quadratus plantae muscle arises plantar on Calcaneus and advertised on lateral edge of the tendons of the flexor digitorum longus muscle. He becomes through the Lateral plantar nerve (S1 - S2) innervates and acts as a plantar flexor of toes two to five.

The quadratus plantae muscle does not have an osseous attachment point. It functions as a synergist for the flexor digitorum longus muscle.

Lumbrical muscles

The Lumbrical muscles have their origins in the Tendons of the flexor digitorum longus muscle and advertise on the Basic phalanx and the plantar fascia of the second to fifth toes. You will be through the Nervi plantares medialis et lateralis (L5 - S2) innervate and lead to the plantar flexion of the toe joints and the adduction to the big toe (Mm. lumbricales I - II) as well as the dorsiflexion of the toe joints and toe joints (Mm. lumbricales II - IV).

At the height of the Ligemantum metatarseum transversum profundum bursae lie between the ligament and the lumbrical muscles. The Lumbricale I and II are replaced by the Medial plantar nerve innervated, while the lumbricals III and IV from Lateral plantar nerve are supplied.

Musculi interossei dorsales et plantares

The Dorsal interossei muscles I - IV are doubly pinnate, arise from the Metatarsal bone I - V and are attached to the proximal phalanx and the dorsal aponeurosis of the second to fourth toes. With active innervation by the Lateral plantar nerve (S1 - S2) Flex and abduct the metatarsophalangeal joints of the second to fourth toes (toe spreading) and extend the middle and end joints of the toes.

The Plantar interosseous muscles I - III are simply feathered and have medial des Corpus ossis metatarsalia III - IV Their origin. They insert medial to the base of the proximal phalanges and the dorsal aponeurosis of toes three to five and are passed through the Lateral plantar nerve (S1 - S2) innervated. They act as plantar flexors and adductors of the metatarsophalangeal joints three to five (toe closure) and as dorsiflexors of the middle and end joints.

The interossei dorsales et plantares muscles lie in the so-called Spatia interossea.

Muscles of the ball of the big toe

The ball of the big toe is supported by the Abductor hallucis muscle, the Flexor hallucis brevis muscle and the Adductor hallucis muscle educated.

Image: “Intrinsic Muscles of the Foot” by Phil Schatz. License: CC BY 4.0. Changes have been made: This is only part of the original image.

Abductor hallucis muscle

The origins of the Abductor hallucis muscle are the Processus medialis of the tuber calcanei and the Plantar fascia. It is located at the base of the basic phalanx of the big toe and acts as a plantar flexor and abductor of the big toe when there is active innervation by the Medial plantar nerve (L5 - S1).

Flexor hallucis brevis muscle

The Flexor hallucis brevis muscle divides into Caput mediale and a Caput laterale. Both arise on Os cuneiform I. and the Plantar calcaneocuboid ligament and have plantar at the Basic phalanx of the big toe their approach.

Both flex the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe, but the head becomes medial through the Medial plantar nerve (S5 - S1) innervated, while the lateral head receives its supply through the Lateral plantar nerve (S1 - S2) receives.

The medial head pulls over the medial sesamoid bone, the lateral caput accordingly over the lateral sesamoid bone to their common point of attachment.

Adductor hallucis muscle

The Adductor hallucis muscle divides into Caput obliquum and a Caput transversum. Both are from Lateral plantar nerve (S1 - S2) innervated and have a common starting point plantar on the proximal phalanx of the big toe. The caput obliquum arises from the Os cuboideum, Os cuneiform III, the bases of the Metatarsal bone II - IV and from Long plantar ligament.

The caput transversum has on the Metatarsophalangeal joints II - V and on Transverse deep ligament its origins. Both adduct the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe.

In addition to its primary function, the adductor hallucis muscle acts as a tensioner for the longitudinal arch of the foot (caput obliquum) and the transverse arch of the foot (head transversum). In addition, the caput obliquum can synergize the flexion in the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe.

Muscles of the ball of the little toe

The ball of the little toe is exposed Abductor digiti minimi muscle, Flexor digiti mimimi brevis muscle and Opponens digiti minimi muscle together.

Abductor digiti minimi muscle

From Lateral process of the calcaneal tuberosity and the Plantar fascia starting out the pulls Abductor digiti minimi muscle to Metatarsal tuberosity V. and the Small toe phalanx. With active innervation by the Lateral plantar nerve (S1 - S2) it functions as a plantar flexor and abductor of the little toe. In addition to its primary function, it spans the longitudinal arch of the foot.

Flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle

The Flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle arises from the Base of the metatarsal V. and the Long plantar ligament and takes place plantar at the Base of the small toe phalanx his approach. He becomes through the Lateral plantar nerve (S1 - S2) innervates and flexes the metatarsophalangeal joint of the little toe. He also tensions the longitudinal arch of the foot.

Opponens digiti minimi muscle

The origin of the Oopponens digiti minimi muscle is this Long plantar ligament, its approach that V metatarsal (lateral). He gets through that Lateral plantar nerve (S1 - S2) its motor innervation and its function is the plantar gliding of the metatarsal V. In addition, it tightens the longitudinal arch of the foot.

Tabular overview of the muscles of the lower leg and foot

Muscle group:Associated muscles:
Dorsiflexion of the ankleTibalis anterior muscle

Extensor digitorum longus muscle

Extensor hallucis longus muscle

Peroneus tertius muscle

Plantar flexors of the ankleTriceps surae muscle

Plantaris muscle

Tibialis posterior muscle

Flexor digitorum longus muscle

Flexor hallucis longus muscle

Musculi peroneus longus et brevis

Pronators of the USGMusculi peroneus longus et brevis

Extensor digitorum longus muscle

Supinators of the USGTibialis anterior muscle

Tibialis posterior muscle

Triceps surae muscle

Muscles of the dorsum pedisExtensor digitorum brevis muscle

Extensor hallucis brevis muscle

Muscles of the planta pedisFlexor digitorum brevis muscle

Quadratus plantae muscle

Lumbrical muscles

Musculi interossei dorsales et plantares

Muscles of the ball of the big toeAbductor hallucis muscle

Flexor hallucis brevis muscle

Adductor hallucis muscle

Muscles of the ball of the little toeAbductor digiti minimi muscle

Flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle

Opponens digiti minimi muscle

Popular exam questions about the muscles of the lower leg and foot

The solutions can be found below the references.

1. Which of the following muscles is not a plantar flexor in the ankle joint?

  1. Peroneus longus muscle
  2. Peroneus brevis muscle
  3. Flexor hallucis longus muscle
  4. Plantaris muscle
  5. Tibialis anterior muscle

2. From which muscles is the triceps surae muscle formed?

  1. Gastrocnemius and plantaris muscles
  2. Gastrocnemius and soleus muscles
  3. Gastrocnemius and popliteus muscles
  4. Gastrocnemius and peroneus longus muscles
  5. Gastrocnemius muscle and peroneus brevis muscle

3. By which nerve is the peroneal group innervated?

  1. Sciatic nerve
  2. Tibial nerve
  3. Superficial fibular nerve
  4. Deep fibular nerve
  5. Femoral nerve


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