Everything You Need to Know about the Abductor Digiti Minimi Muscles of the Hand and Foot

In this post: The abductor digiti minimi is a muscle in the hand and foot that helps us reach our pinkie fingers and toes away from the other digits. Here’s everything you need to know about keeping these muscles healthy.

In yoga, we spread our hands like starfish on our mats. When we type on a keyboard, we often reach with our little fingers to get back to the Control and Shift buttons. Today, we’ll learn about the muscle, the abductor digiti minimi, that helps us be able to perform those tasks. 

Where Is the Abductor Digiti Minimi Muscle?

The abductor digiti minimi is another one of those muscles that is present in both the hand and the foot. Here’s more about its precise location in each spot.

In the Hand

The origin of the abductor digiti minimi muscle of the hand is on the pisform bone and from the tendon of the flexor carpi ulnaris. The pisform bone is a small, pea-shaped bone in the wrist. Flexor carpi ulnaris is a muscle in the forearm that we haven’t studied yet. Its tendon runs to the hand.

flexor digiti minimi brevis hand, abductor digiti minimi

Thanks to the University of Washington Radiology for this image.

The insertion of the abductor digiti minimi hand muscle is in two places. However, both of these spots are very near each other.

The first insertion point is on the outside (or ulnar side) bottom part of the lower bone in your finger. Basically, it’s at the base of your pinkie finger on the outside edge of your hand.

According to Flash Anatomy Muscles Flash Cards, the second insertion point is “into the ulnar border of the extensor expansion of the little finger.” Again, this insertion point is basically at the base of your pinkie finger on the outside edge of your hand.

In the Foot

In your foot, the abductor digiti minimi originates on the medial and lateral processes of the tuberosity of the calcaneus. This means that, essentially, this muscle begins on your heel bone.

flexor hallucis brevis, flexor digitorum brevis, abductor digiti minimi

Thanks to Madeinkibera.com for the image.

The abductor digiti minimi foot muscle inserts on the outside edge of the bottom of the lower bone of the little toe. This greatly resembles the insertion point of the abductor digiti minimi on the hand.

What Does the Abductor Digiti Minimi Do?

The abductor digiti minimi hand muscle abducts the little finger. This means that it moves the little finger away from the ring finger or from the midline of the hand, which would run down the middle of the middle finger. It also helps to bend the little finger toward the palm at the joint where the finger joins the hand.

The abductor digiti minimi foot muscle abducts the little toe away from the fourth toe.

What Happens When These Muscles Are Dysfunctional?

If the abductor digiti minimi muscle is dysfunctional, you may notice pain in the area of the muscle. This may mean pain at the base of the little finger or little toe or pain along the outside of your hand or foot. You may also notice reduced ability to perform the muscle’s function–abduction of the little finger or little toe.

How Do I Get Rid of Abductor Digiti Minimi Pain?

If you believe you have injured or torn your abductor digiti minimi muscle, you should contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor can order all of the appropriate imaging, therapy, and medicine to help you recover as quickly as possible.

However, if you’re looking for ideas to keep these muscles healthy, I have some suggestions. As always, I recommend that you practice the function of the muscle to strengthen it. Then, perform the opposite movement to stretch it.

This means that to strengthen this muscle for both the hand and the foot, you can practice reaching your little finger or little toe away from its neighbor. Also, for the abductor digiti minimi muscle of the hand, you can also practice bending your little finger toward your palm at the bottom joint where the finger joins the palm.

To stretch these muscles, simply perform the opposite movement–adduct. Hug your little finger and little toe toward its neighbor. Also, you can add an additional stretch to the hand muscle by gently reaching the little finger toward the back of your hand.

More Information

For those who are more interested in technical terminology and smaller muscles, I recommend Flash Anatomy Muscles Flash Cards. Any time a client comes to me with pain, I use these flash cards.

Sign up for access to my Free Resource Library if you want to learn more ways to get rid of pain permanently. Plus, you’ll get weekly tricks and tips to keep you happy, healthy, and pain-free.

Do you have any other suggestions for strengthening or stretching the abductor digiti minimi muscles of the hand and foot? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi! I'm Sarah, and I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. When I'm not working with clients, I'm researching the best ways to get rid of pain. Do you want to learn how to practice yoga and Pilates safely in your own home? Or, do you want to know all my tips and tricks for pain relief? Join my mailing list and receive free goodies to help you.

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