The flexor digiti minimi brevis is a muscle that exists in both the hand and the foot. Although this muscle mostly helps you bend your little finger toward your palm or your little toe toward the sole of your foot, it can be the culprit for pain in several areas including the base of your little finger, your wrist, the base of your little toe, or the outside edge of your foot. Here’s more about these similar muscles.
The origin of the flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle in the hand is at a spot called the hamulus. The hamulus is the hook part of the hamate bone, which is a wrist bone that is shaped like a hook.
The point of insertion for the flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle in the hand is at the outside of the base of the proximal phalanx of the little finger. As you may recall, the proximal phalanx is the bone in your little finger that is closer to your palm. So, when you feel the outside edge of your little finger, the insertion point of this muscle is just above the bottom knuckle.
The origin for the flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle in the foot is at the base of the fifth metatarsal bone. This is a bone that is located near the outside edge, somewhat toward the back of your foot. Similar to the hand, the insertion point for this muscle in the foot is on the outside of the lower bone of the little toe.
It’s interesting to me that, when you look at both muscles, the origin for the one in the hand is on a bone in the wrist, which is a joint. In my opinion, even thought that muscle doesn’t cross the joint, it could still impact its strength and stability because of its relationship to the hamate bone in the wrist.
However, in the foot, the point of origin is just further up in the foot, closer to the heel. Only the joint at the base of the little toe should be impacted by this muscle.
The flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle in the hand flexes your little finger. This means that this muscle bends your little finger toward your palm at the joint where the finger meets the palm.
In the foot, the flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle does the same thing. It bends the little toe toward the sole of the foot at the bottom joint where the toe connects to the foot.
Althought the flexor digiti minimi brevis muscles of the hand and foot are relatively small, they can still cause pain and dysfunction. This muscle might be dysfunctional in your hand if you have pain in the base of your little finger or wrist. Whether you experience pain while bending the finger, straightening it, or even keeping it still; this muscle could be the cause.
In the foot, a dysfunctional flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle could cause pain at the base of the little toe and along the outside edge of the foot. Although I haven’t experienced this personally, I’ve had clients with this pain. Before I learned about this muscle, I thought it might be a peroneal issue. Now, I’ll be sure to take a look at this muscle, too.
Restoring or Maintaining Health
If you think you have injured or torn your flexor digiti minimi brevis muscle in either your hand or foot, contact your doctor. He or she can order the appropriate imaging, therapy, and medicine to help you heal completely.
However, if you’re just wanting to keep these muscles healthy and strong, I have some ideas. Any time you want to strengthen a muscle, you should perform its action. This means that you should practice bending your little finger toward your palm and your little toe toward the sole of your foot. Use your fingers to help if you need to. (For example, my little finger moves easily without help from any other fingers, but my little toe can’t move without my assistance.)
To stretch these muscles, perform the opposite of their action. This means that you should practice stretching the base of your little finger by moving it toward your wrist. Don’t actually try to touch your wrist, just move your finger in that direction.
To stretch your flexor digiti minimi brevis in your foot, stretch your little toe at its bottom joint toward the top of your foot. You don’t have to create a big stretch; just a little bit of movement at that joint will help.
For those who are more interested in technical terminology and smaller muscles, I recommend. Any time a client comes to me with pain, I use these flash cards.
Do you have any other suggestions for strengthening or stretching the flexor digiti minimi brevis muscles of the hand and foot? Let us know in the comments below.
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