Quadratus Plantae: Learn Your Muscles

The quadratus plantae is a relatively small muscle located near your heel bone. Although this small muscle can be the culprit for foot pain, it can frequently be calmed with massage techniques such as trigger point therapy. Here’s more about this small muscle.


The origin of the quadratus plantae is from two heads that are on the medial and lateral sides of the bottom of the calcaneus (heel bone). It inserts on the outside border of the tendon of the flexor digitorum longus.


The quadratus planae flexes the 2nd-5th toes. This means that it helps you curl your toes.

Common Dysfunction

When this muscle is dysfunctional, you may feel tightness or pain in your heel or toward the back of the arch of your foot.

Restoring or Maintaining Health

quadratus plantae

Thanks to Triggerpoints.net for the image.

If you think that you have injured your abductor hallucis or adductor hallucis, contact your doctor. He or she can order the appropriate imaging, therapy, and medicine necessary for your recovery.

However, if you’re wanting to keep your feet healthy or if you’re wanting to try to relieve your foot pain yourself, I have some ideas.

  • Roll your soles of your feet. I love to roll my feet on tennis or lacrosse balls. Make sure to roll the whole bottom of your foot. Get up by the toes and let the ball dig in around your heel. Don’t ignore your arches or the outside of your foot.
  • Get a massage. Sometimes, a wonderful foot massage can do a world of good to relieve pain. You might think of finding a therapist who practices trigger point therapy.
  • Flex your feet at the ankle. By reaching your toes back toward your shin and flexing your foot at the ankle, you might be able to create a stretch for this muscles.
  • Point your feet. After you get a good stretch at the ankle by flexing, point your foot in a nice, long line to find some work the other way.

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.

Also, the image that I used above came from Triggerpoints.net. Because their information is geared toward massage therapists practicing trigger point therapy, their images are often a very clear path to find the muscle externally. Here’s a link to their information about the quadratus plantae.

Do you have any other suggestions for strengthening or stretching the quadratus plantae? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.