Extensor Hallucis Longus

Joe Muscolino

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The extensor hallucis longus of the anterior compartment of the (lower) leg.

The Extensor Hallucis Longus is located in the Anterior Compartment of the (lower) leg. The muscles in the anterior compartment are:



  • Middle anterior fibula to the dorsal surface of the distal phalanx of the big toe.
    • The extensor hallucis longus attaches proximally onto the middle 1/3 of the anterior fibula and middle 1/3 of the interosseus membrane.



  • Extends the big toe at the metatarsophalangeal and interphalangeal joints.
  • Dorsiflexes the foot at the ankle joint.
  • Inverts (Supinates) the foot at the subtalar joint.



  1. The reverse/closed-chain joint action of extension of the big toe at the metatarsophalangeal joint, namely dorsiflexion/extension of the first metatarsal at the metatarsophalangeal joint, is extremely important during the toe-off phase of the gait cycle.
  2. Inversion is the principal cardinal-plane (frontal-plane) component of the oblique-plane motion pattern of supination.