Abductor Hallucis: Anatomy, Injury, and Treatment

The Abductor hallucis muscle is an important muscle in the prevention of arch and big toe injuries such as bunions. The abductor hallucis is the most medial and superficial (most visible arch) muscle in the arch of the foot. It travels from the calcaneus and plantar fascia to the insert into the medial base of the big toe. Its action is to pull the big toe into abduction (away from 2nd toe).  This muscle is also important in preventing excessive and poorly controlled pronation.


  • Pain and tenderness along the inside of the sole of the foot/arch when pressing down on the muscle.
  • Big toe joint pain especially when pushing off from the ground during the gait cycle
  • Medial Plantar nerve entrapment due to the nerve being located directly underneath the muscle. This would be the most likely cause of sharp pain in the arch

Long-term weakness could lead to bunion formation and pain.


In order to treat and eliminate pain associated with abductor hallucis tightness or weakness, the entire foot and ankle need to be considered.

  • Strengthening and lengthening the muscle will help restore normal biomechanics of the big toe and arch.
  • Ensure proper nerve mobility by stretching the tibial nerve and medial plantar nerve
  • Restoring proper dorsiflexion to the ankle will decrease tension on the arch of the foot
  • Teaching foot tripod exercises

Walking barefoot on soft grass ten minutes a day will allow the entire foot to open up.


YOU should be able to move the way you’d like to move without experiencing pain. YOU should be able to experience freedom and energy knowing there’s nothing holding back from giving your life 110%. Dr. Dean would like to learn more about your challenges with a quick phone or email before beginning treatment. Contact him today.