Today’s blog is about the Peroneal Muscles. I call these the unforgotten muscles because not many people know they exist, where they are and what they do. But I guarantee after reading this you will start looking after them a bit better than you are now!
So first of all let me explain where they are.
As you can see from the diagram these muscles run along the outside of the fibula bone and insert under the base of the 1st metatarsal bone and medial cuneiform and the tuberosity of the fifth metatarsal bone. There are 3 of these muscles: Peroneus Longus, Brevis and sometimes a third peroneal: tertius
They are responsible for evertion of the foot. (Which in plain terms means, turning the foot outwards). They also assist plantar flexion of the ankle (the talocrural joint).
These particular muscles are quite important in sport and they get very tight as a result of side movements. If you are a runner, tennis, badminton, squash player, footballer, rugby, skier or anyone that moves in different directions, then you are likely to be using these muscles more than anyone else will.
Injuries that can happen: rupture of tendon /muscle but most commonly peroneal tendonitis. You may experience tightness along the outside of the lower leg with a feeling of restriction around your foot and discomfort around the lateral malleolus (the outside ankle bone). This is normally from over use of the muscles and can also be from weakness if you have had a sprained ankle in the past.
These muscles are just as important as your calf, gastrocnemius, soleus etc. So ideally you should be adding them into your self care stretching regime. Unsure how to stretch them? Then please have a look at the two pictures below. The first one you see is stretching the back of the calf muscles, you might also recognise this one is from my website. The second one is stretching the peroneal muscles. This is actually my foot! I took socks off so that you can see the rotation of the foot to get the stretch. Although they are in a different position, camera wise, you have to look carefully to understand what the difference is between the two. The first one, the towel is on the end of the foot and pulling the toes downwards to get that stretch at the back of the leg. The second stretch that you see, this time purposely the picture is shown from the front. Look at the angle of the foot, it is inverted (rolled in). The towel is pulling the foot into this position. (I am holding the camera in one hand so ideally you should have one hand on each end of the towel to get the proper stretch. You should feel the stretch along the outside of the lower leg. (As always where there is yellow is where you will feel it). Be very gentle with this stretch, especially if you are quite mobile in the ankle joint. The key thing with the peroneal muscles is get regularly stretching into a routine with all your other major muscle groups. Try adding them in now, to ensure that you don’t fall into the trap of damaging them in the future!!
Enjoy your new stretch!
Fig 1: Peroneal Muscles. Available at: http://corewalking.com/weak-inner-thighs-and-the-peroneal-muscles/(Accessed 6th June 2017)