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The Extensor Hallucis Longus is a muscle in the back of your leg that helps you move and extend your big toe. Stretching this muscle regularly can help reduce tightness, improve the range of motion, and reduce pain associated with certain activities.

In addition to improving flexibility, stretching the extensor hallucis longus can also help increase strength in the surrounding muscles, which can benefit athletes or anyone who engages in regular physical activity.

This article will provide step-by-step instructions on properly stretching the extensor hallucis longus to maximize its benefits while avoiding any potential injury.

Understanding the Anatomy of the Extensor Hallucis Longus

The extensor hallucis longus is a muscle in the lower leg that is essential in movement and coordination. It originates at the fibula and runs along the soleus, the anterior compartment of the leg, to attach to the distal phalanx of one’s great toe.

This particular muscle plays a role in the extension of the hallux, or great toe, while its associated tendon stabilizes the foot during walking and running. In addition to aiding with toe movements associated with activities of daily living, it also helps a person maintain balance when stationary or participating in physical activities.

Furthermore, understanding this anatomy can benefit sports medicine professionals who require knowledge about body mechanics for treating athletes with injuries.

The Importance of Keeping the Extensor Hallucis Longus Flexible

The Extensor Hallucis Longus (EHL) is an indispensable muscle of the human body. It helps facilitate running, walking, and other athletic activities like soccer, basketball, and tennis. It is, therefore, vital to ensure it remains flexible to improve physical performance.

To do this, regular stretching exercises that focus on the EHL should be done after physical activity or once a day. Stretching the EHL improves its range of motion and reduces the chances of injury while reducing muscular fatigue. Additionally, maintaining flexibility in the EHL ensures joints remain mobile and able to perform everyday tasks with greater ease providing public health benefits such as improved posture, stability, and balance.

Therefore, keeping the Extensor Hallucis Longus flexible is essential for a successful workout and can also have wide-ranging benefits for physical health.

3 Extensor Hallucis Longus Stretches for Flexibility

  1. Seated Toe Flexion
  2. Standing Toe Extension
  3. Toe Point and Pull

Seated Toe Flexion

  • Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, about shoulder-width apart.
  • Place a towel between your big and second toe and gently pull forward, stretching the big toe towards you.
  • Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat for 3-4 sets.

Standing Toe Extension

  • Stand up with your feet hip-width apart and place a rolled-up towel under the ball of your foot.
  • Gently press down on the towel by pushing off from the heel and extending your toes towards you.
  • Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat for 3-4 sets.

Toe Point and Pull

  • Stand on one foot with the toes of your other foot pointing away from you.
  • Place a towel between the big toe and the second toe, then gently pull forward to create a stretch in the big toe.
  • Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds and perform 3-4 sets on each foot.


Stretching the extensor hallucis longus muscle regularly can help you improve your range of motion and reduce pain associated with certain activities. It also benefits athletes or anyone who participates in regular physical activity as it increases strength in the surrounding muscles. The three stretches detailed here are simple and effective ways to preserve the flexibility of the extensor hallucis longus. Making these exercises a regular part of your routine can help you keep your muscle limber and free from injury.

With proper stretching, you can stay active and healthy while gaining the most benefit from physical activities. However, it is important to note that if you feel pain or discomfort during these exercises, stop immediately and consult a doctor. If stretching does not provide relief, medical intervention may be necessary to diagnose the underlying cause of your pain.