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Flexor Hallucis Longus Pain

Posted by Martin on 1/27/05 at 16:17 (168056)


As a side effect from stretching for heel pain I developed pain in in my flexor hallucis longus tendon on my right foot at the point known as the 'knot of henry' i.e. the very centre of the arch. I believe that it must have re-irriated a similar 'injury' there from several years ago which did fortunately heal.

The pain feels like it's inflamed, occassionally there's a little redness, and it's very focussed on the 'knot of henry' point. After one or two weeks the pain subsides, so long as I DON'T pull my right toe back. As soon as my right toe pulls back (often it just accidentally flinches in the night) it sets the cycle off again. Gentle walking does not seem to set it off. This cycle has been going on for about 10 months now. The longest I've achieved is 2 months without the toe pulling back and setting the pain off.

My podiatrist has examined it and says she can't feel any obvious rupture, and certainly movement of the toe has not been restricted. She says my FHL tendon is short anyway because my 1st metatarsal/big toe sits lower than my other toes, and she has expressed concern that if I don't start moving my toe back I could eventually lose movement in the joint. I have been massaging it rigorously and using anti-inflammatory cream to no obvious effect.

Could the pain be a trapped nerve? What else could be causing the pain? Should I start stretching the FHL tendon gently inspite of the pain cycle it causes (maybe I need to get through a 'pain barrier'?)? Any other thoughts?

Many thanks in advance,


Re: Flexor Hallucis Longus Pain

Dorothy on 1/28/05 at 00:11 (168075)

I am not a doctor, but I'm wondering - do you think using ice would help? For example, an ice-cold stationary item or an ice-cold item you can roll your arch over.. to reduce inflammation? Or alternating ice and heat?
Are you taking any OTC anti-inflammatories, e.g. ibuprofen?

Re: Flexor Hallucis Longus Pain

Martin on 1/28/05 at 06:40 (168081)

Thanks Dorothy. Yes I've been using ice, NSAIDs and all the usual conservative treatments, which help, but as soon as that right toe goes back it's off again!


Re: Flexor Hallucis Longus Pain

Mike W on 1/28/05 at 11:07 (168090)

Hello Martin,

Have you tried strengthening your Exetsor HL and Extensor HB?

These muscles are usually weak. If you strengthen them you will automatically relax your tight FHL and FHB.

Please check out my website http://www.foottrainer.com for further info.


Mike W