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Adductor hallucis

The adductor hallucis is a two-headed muscle that is responsible for flexing and contracting the big toe, and reinforcing the arch of the foot.

The oblique (angled) head of the muscle attaches to the second, third, and fourth metatarsal bones in the foot. The transverse (horizontal) head attaches to the metatarsophalangeal ligament that is located on the second, third, and fourth toe.

Pain in the arch of the foot and big toe can result from excessive standing, wearing ill-fitting shoes, and playing high-impact sports. When left untreated, these activities can result in painful conditions such as:

  • Turf toe: sprain of big toe ligaments (fibrous tissue that connects bones) and muscle strain of the adductor hallucis muscle
  • Bunion: the painful bend of the big toe due to joint enlargement
  • Collapsed arch: improper support of the foot arch that is also known as flat feet
  • Heel pain: results from repeated pressure applied to the hallucis muscle
  • Peripheral neuropathy: foot numbness

Foot professionals, such as physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, and podiatrists, can provide treatment for adductor hallucis complications.

These treatments include:

  • foot taping
  • applying ice
  • boot or a cast
  • non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs
  • crutches
  • electrotherapy
  • rest with foot elevation exercise
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Adductor hallucis

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