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Movement at the ankle is controlled by two
joints. The ankle or talocrural joint is formed from the tibia and fibula of
the lower leg and talus of the foot. Functionally, it acts as a hinge, allowing dorsiflexion (pulling the foot upwards towards the lower leg) and
plantarflexion (pulling the foot downwards away from the lower leg). Eversion (tilting of the sole of the foot away from the midline) and
inversion (tilting of the sole of the foot inwards towards the midline) is
controlled by the subtalar joint formed between the talus and calcaneus bones
of the foot.
The ankle joint is held in place by numerous strong ligaments that can be easily damaged when excessive force is placed on the ankle, particularly during strenuous inversion and eversion. Movement at the ankle is key for maintenance of posture and balance, but is most important in locomotion. Variation in muscle activation can control the movement of the ankle joint, allowing the foot to generate graduated force.
Muscles that generate movement at the ankle
are generally found in the lower leg and can be split into three categories.
Three muscles in the anterior compartment
of the leg act to dorsiflex and invert the foot at the ankle joint.
Anterior - The tibialis anterior muscle is located
alongside the lateral surface of the tibia and is the strongest dorsiflexor of
Attachments - Originates from the lateral
surface of the tibia and attaches to the base of the big toe.
Actions - Dorsiflexion and inversion of the
Digitorum Longus - The extensor digitorum longus is
a deep-lying extrinsic muscle that runs the length of the tibia.
Attachments - Originates from the tibia and
transitions into a tendon, passes into the foot, splits into four, and attaches
to the toes.
Actions - Extension of the toes and
dorsiflexion of the foot.
Hallucis Longus - The extensor hallucis longus is a
deep lying extrinsic muscle beneath the extensor digitorum longus.
Attachments - Originates from the fibula
and attaches to the big toe.
Actions - Extension of the big toe, and
dorsiflexion of the foot.
“Muscles that Cause Movement at the Ankle.”
Boundless Anatomy and Physiology
Boundless, 27 Sep. 2016.
Retrieved 22 Feb. 2017 from