Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
The approximately 20 muscles in the foot create movement as
well as give the foot its shape.
Like the fingers, the toes have flexor and extensor muscles
that power movement their movement and play a large role in balance.
However, many muscles that power foot movement begin as high
up as the back of the knee. Some important muscles that affect the foot
This muscle extends from the back of the knee to the heel. It is pivotal in
walking and standing.
(calf muscle): One of the large muscles of the leg, it connects to the
heel. It flexes and extends the foot, ankle, and knee.
This small, thin muscle is absent in about 10 percent of people. Its function
is superseded by the calf muscle.
hallucis: A muscle on the inner side of the foot that runs from the big toe
to the heel, it pulls the big toe, or hallux, away from the body.
anterior: This muscle runs from the tibia to the first toe. This muscle
helps make walking possible by flexing the foot upward and turning it inward.
digitorum longus: This is one of three muscles that pulls the foot upward.
It also extends the toes, lifts the toes, and turns the foot outward.
digitorum longus: This muscle in the calf and foot flexes the second
through fifth toes and points the toes downward.
longus: This muscle helps move the foot sideways as well as flex it
downward, like when you push down the gas pedal of a car.
tertius: This muscle helps move the foot side to side at the ankle joint.
brevis: This small muscle helps move the foot downward.
The muscles create motion in the body by moving the
skeleton. The muscles are attached to bone by fibrous tendons.
Possibly the most important tendon in terms of mobility is
the Achilles tendon. This tendon in
the back of the calf and ankle connects the plantaris, calf, and soleus muscles
to the heel bone. It stores the elastic energy needed for running, jumping, and
other physical activity.
Ligaments hold bones
together and stabilize joints. One of the main ligaments in the foot is the plantar fascia, which forms the arch on
the sole of the foot. As it stretches and contracts, the plantar fascia
provides balance and strength to the foot.