How to Strengthen a Particular Leg Muscle?

The Extensor Hallucis Longus Muscle is the muscle in question.

I broke my left fibula last September. Clean break. Took ages to heal. The bone has now knitted together. Still get odd sensation in the area of the break (dull tingling/ache), but it's usually just an annoyance more than anything.

The issue is that my left foot does not work properly any more. A brief session with the physio and he booked me into the orthotics team. A session with them today and it transpires that this muscle is now very weak, with the muscles on the other side of that leg over developing / compensating. The custom orthotics will be here in four weeks and at the moment it looks like I'll have to use them for life.

Personally I'd rather try and strengthen the outside of my left leg and the muscle ref'd above (goes down outside of leg and across foot to the big toe) to see if that will give the same, or better, fix.

But, this is where I need someone's help please. The physio was as much use as a chocolate teapot, so I'm doing my own research and asking for help from people in the know. When I mooted the strengthening option with the orthotics lady she said it was worth a try am to look on the internet.

Thank you in advance for any guidance :-)

Replies

  • meshashesha2012
    meshashesha2012 Posts: 8,326 Member
    did you try google? i just put the name of the muscle in the search bar and "exercises" and came up with 21K results
  • _Terrapin_
    _Terrapin_ Posts: 4,302 Member
    toe raises. . . .and get a copy of Anatomy for Runners author Jay Dicharry.
  • MrsMizart
    MrsMizart Posts: 1,275 Member
    It's coming up with a lot of the same info / references to orthotics.

    There's a stretch for shins and toe lifting, but they both seem too easy? Maybe I'm over complicating it.
  • MrsMizart
    MrsMizart Posts: 1,275 Member
    Thank you :-) Will add toes raises. Do you think standing on 'tip toe', i.e. ball of foot/toe, will be equivalent? It feels roughly the same and I can get more of those in the day than toe raises - lots of stairs at client's site but they're very touchy about people doing anything but walking up and down them! I've ordered the book :-)
  • Chief_Rocka
    Chief_Rocka Posts: 4,710 Member
    toe curls
  • VelveteenArabian
    VelveteenArabian Posts: 758 Member
    Exercises that dancers use to prepare for pointe (ballet) will help with all of your foot and ankle muscles.

    If you youtube something like "point exercises" pointe ballet exercises or exercises to prepare for pointe you will find lots of videos
  • MrsMizart
    MrsMizart Posts: 1,275 Member
    Well who would have thought that something as simple as curling toes under would feel so different when one leg isn't the same as the other! Such a marked difference in strength, flexibility, and sensation, and that's just doing it lying in bed (it's getting late in the UK). Thank you :-) Can't wait to try these all properly tomorrow :-)

    Will go Google pointe prep, thank you :-)
  • MrsMizart
    MrsMizart Posts: 1,275 Member
    Bringing this one back up to say Thank You! I've done a mix of the exercises every day since this post and I'm very pleased to report that my foot works so much better now :-) It's not the same as the other one and may never be, but it's usable and no longer hurts so I'm very happy.

    Thank You folks :-)
  • EvgeniZyntx
    EvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,208 Member
    Aside from big toe raises - I am assuming you are seeing foot eversion (when you say your foot doesn't work properly do you mean the sole tilts away from the center?) Weakness in a specific muscle like that might be related to neural damage (the rest of your post on sensation suggests this too) or length changes due to the break. Try to see another physio or ortho doc to get some in hand advice - because those types of issues are managed, if at all, differently than just strengthening. It might include flex work, etc...

    Aside from toe raises. Take a tennis or lacrosse ball, place it under you foot and move it in circles or eights across the floor. The idea is not only to strengthen but retrain stabilizer and control function. Do this sitting and standing.

    EHL integrated exercise: Stand up. Feet flat. Use a chair for support. Raise big toe off the floor. Raise heels. Now balance only on the balls fo feet. Bring body slowly up/and down while keeping toe up.

    But see a physio again.
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,406 Member
    MrsMizart wrote: »
    Bringing this one back up to say Thank You! I've done a mix of the exercises every day since this post and I'm very pleased to report that my foot works so much better now :-) It's not the same as the other one and may never be, but it's usable and no longer hurts so I'm very happy.

    Thank You folks :-)

    Nice to see a follow-up success story post. Best wishes going forward
  • shinisize
    shinisize Posts: 105 Member
    The exercises are going to look easy, but even someone with good muscle strength is going to actually reach fatigue pretty quickly. You can also up the intensity by using a rubber band (the thick ones that come on broccoli and asparagus work well) wrapped around your toes and looped under something solid to pull against. I've usually seen it done where the person sits on the floor with their foot against a skinny chair leg and has the rubber band around their toes and the chair leg.
  • MrsMizart
    MrsMizart Posts: 1,275 Member
    Sorry for bringing this one up again, but I wanted to say thank you for all your help :-)

    My foot almost works properly now! There's been so much improvement that I can walk without being constantly aware of it, and it no longer hurts :-)

    I'll keep at the exercises and hopefully in x amout of time it will be as though it never happened.