The peroneus longus, brevis and tertius are three muscles located at your ankle. They can trigger pain in this area, as well as in the foot.
Especially if they are tense or carry trigger points.
However, you can free these muscles from tensions and trigger points with a self-massage.
On this page, you will learn how to do this. You will also learn …
Read on and free yourself of your pain!
Tensions in these muscles usually lead to sensitivity of pressure and pain in the muscles.
Trigger points cause the same ailments, but they can also transmit the pain to other areas.
Below you will find the exact pain zones for each of the three muscles.
Trigger points in the peroneus longus can trigger pain in the lateral area of the calf which radiates downwards.
Trigger points in the peroneus brevis can result in pain in the inferior part of the lateral lower leg. It usually radiates downwards and can cause the following ailments:
Pain caused by trigger points in the peroneus tertius usually extends from the anterior ankle to the back of the foot.
In addition, the pain can radiate to the lateral side of the heel.
Trigger points in the peroneus often lead to a weakness of these muscles.
Weakness, in turn, can cause instability of the ankle, increasing the risk of twisting it.
These three muscles attach on the lateral side of the lower leg, as well as on its front, and at the foot.
The peroneus longus and brevis lie on the lateral side, whereas the peroneus tertius is located at the front of the lower leg.
In the following sections, I describe the location of these muscles in more detail.
The peroneus longus is attached to the lateral compartment of the lower leg (more precisely: fibula), just below the knee.
It runs down the entire side of the lower leg, around your ankle, runs towards the lateral portion of your foot and then continues under the foot to its medial side.
The peroneus brevis lies below the peroneus longus and is covered by it for the most part. It originates from the lower two-thirds of the lateral surface of the fibula, follows it downward and attaches at the foot.
The peroneus tertius also originates at the fibula, but lies further forward. It runs toward the lateral side of the foot, just like the peroneus brevis.
These muscles provide stabilization and movement control, instead of literally moving a joint.
This stabilization work is carried out as long as the foot touches the ground and the ankle joint needs to be stabilized.
As soon as the foot leaves the ground, the muscles are able to move the ankle joint.
Trigger points are activated by many different factors.
In this case, injuries come first, followed by immobilization and “unfavorable” habits such as wearing high-heeled shoes.
In the following, I will explain some of these points in more detail.
In the case of a supination trauma, colloquially also known as a twisted ankle, the lateral ligaments of the ankle are injured.
These injuries range from overstretching to ruptures.
Concerning the peroneus longus and brevis, the severity of the injury plays a subordinate role. They are always stretched to the extreme in a supination trauma.
These sudden stretches often lead to the activation of trigger points.
But this is only the acute, immediate mechanism.
If you twist your ankle and injure yourself in the process, your peronei will always contract reflexively in order to protect the injured ligaments from getting even more stretched.
Remember the function of these three muscles. They move the lateral edge of the foot upwards outwards, i.e. in the opposite direction of the “twist”.
This “reflex contraction” leads to something I would like to call protective tension.
If this tension lasts for a long time, it can also overload the muscles and lead to an activation of trigger points.
If a muscle is held in one position for longer periods of time, this leads to reduced blood circulation, increased muscle tension and, in the end, to trigger points.
In addition, the maximum resilience of a muscle decreases rapidly during immobilization, and weak muscles are more susceptible to trigger points than “well-trained” ones.
In point 4.1, we talked about “trauma caused by a twist”. If such an injury is very severe, the ankle joint is immobilized for a few weeks, for example with an aircast splint.
The splint severely restricts the mobility of the ankle in supination and pronation and thus protects the injured ligaments.
However, this also decreases the stress on the peronei, which means that they become weaker and are poorly supplied with blood. What is more, they won´t get used in their entire functions. This provides a perfect predisposition for the activation of trigger points.
This also shows the importance of strengthening as well as relaxation exercises after the has healed.
If you cross your legs while sitting, the peroneus longus is compressed between the crossed leg and the knee.
This can overload the muscle and activate trigger points.
The same is true for high stockings that have a firm elastic band. They, too, compress the muscle and can activate trigger points.
Wearing high heels puts your ankle in an unstable position. Remember that the peronei primarily perform stabilization work at the ankle.
High heels can overload these muscles, especially if you wear them often or for long periods of time.
This chapter may be harder to understand for many of you, but it is important for those who walk a lot and suffer from ankle, foot or heel pain.
So, let’s have a look at some basic functional anatomy …
Your tibialis anterior is the antagonist of your peroneus longus and brevis. It lifts the back of the foot. This function is very important to ensure a controlled rolling movement during jogging.
This muscle is particularly strained when running downhill. You have certainly experienced the burning sensation in the area of your tibia when running downhill. That’s your tibialis anterior.
Many joggers overload this muscle when …
This overload is reflected in an increased muscle tension, and possibly in trigger points.
Increased muscle tension naturally results in the peroneus longus and brevis having to work harder to fulfil their function, because they work against it.
This can overload them and lead to the activation of trigger points.
Palpation of these muscles works best during contraction.
In the following, I will show you how to feel each of these three muscles.
First palpate the head of the fibula, i.e. the origin of the muscle.
Note: The muscle head of the longus only reaches as far as about the middle of the lower leg.
Then it merges into the long tendon of the muscle. If you feel a contraction of the lower leg during this movement, it is the peroneus brevis or the tendon of the longus, which moves under your fingers.
The peroneus brevis is a little bit more difficult to feel, because it is covered by the peroneus longus. But with some patience and practice you will succeed.
If not, this is no problem, because you can massage the muscle without feeling it. You just need to know where to massage.
The peroneus tertius is relatively easy to palpate. However, before you feel the muscle, you need to palpate your malleolar fork.
To feel the muscle, proceed as follows:
Many techniques, positions and massagers are possible for the self-massage of this muscle group.
On this page, I will show you how to massage these muscles with your hands. As techniques, I apply the precise massage strokes as well as the pressure-motion technique.