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Pain In Abductor Hallucis: How To Cure Swelling In Your Feet?

Have you ever felt a sharp, nagging pain on the inner edge of your foot? If so, you may be experiencing pain in the abductor ...

by Kendra Reed

This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

Have you ever felt a sharp, nagging pain on the inner edge of your foot? If so, you may be experiencing pain in the abductor hallucis muscle. This small but important muscle plays a crucial role in supporting your foot’s arch and allowing your big toe to move outward.

When it becomes strained or inflamed, the resulting abductor hallucis pain can make every step a struggle. Don’t worry, you’re not alone – this is a common issue affecting many people. In this article, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and effective treatments for pain in the abductor hallucis.

What Is Abductor Hallucis?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, let’s first understand what the abductor hallucis is and why it’s so important. This muscle is located on the inner border of your foot, near the base of your big toe.

Its primary function is to bend and move your big toe away from the other toes, a movement known as abduction. Additionally, it helps to support and maintain the medial longitudinal arch, which runs along the inner side of your foot.

When the abductor hallucis is working properly, it helps distribute your body weight evenly across your feet and aids in proper gait and balance. However, when this muscle becomes strained, overworked, or injured, it can lead to pain and discomfort that radiates throughout your foot and potentially up your leg.

Causes Of Abductor Hallucis Pain

There are several potential causes that can contribute to the development of pain in the abductor hallucis. Understanding these causes can help you identify potential risk factors and take preventive measures.

Causes Of Abductor Hallucis Pain

1. Overuse and Repetitive Strain

One of the most common causes of abductor hallucis pain is repetitive strain or overuse. This can occur in individuals who spend a significant amount of time on their feet, such as healthcare workers, food service employees, or athletes. The constant stress on the muscle can lead to inflammation and pain over time.

2. Sudden Increase In Physical Activity

If you’ve recently started a new exercise regimen or increased the intensity of your workouts, this can also strain the abductor hallucis muscle. Your body needs time to adjust to new physical demands, and pushing too hard too fast can lead to injury.

3. Foot Trauma Or Injury

Direct trauma to the inner side of your foot, such as from a fall, stepping on a sharp object, or a sports-related impact, can cause damage to the abductor hallucis muscle.

4. Flat Feet Or Overpronation

Individuals with flat feet or those who overpronate (roll their feet inward excessively) tend to place greater stress on the abductor hallucis muscle. This can lead to pain and discomfort over time.

5. Ill-fitting Or Unsupportive Footwear

Wearing shoes without proper arch support or cushioning can put unnecessary strain on the abductor hallucis muscle, increasing the risk of pain and injury.

Signs And Symptoms Of Abductor Hallucis Pain

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of abductor hallucis pain is crucial for seeking prompt treatment and preventing further injury. Watch out for the following typical signs:

1. Localized Pain

The most obvious symptom is pain or tenderness along the inner border of your foot, near the base of your big toe. This pain may worsen with activity or pressure on the area.

2. Swelling or Bruising

Depending on the severity of the injury or strain, you may notice swelling or bruising around the affected area.

3. Tightness or Stiffness

The abductor hallucis muscle may feel tight or stiff, limiting the range of motion in your big toe or foot.

4. Tingling or Numbness

In some cases, the inflammation or tightness in the abductor hallucis muscle can compress nearby nerves, leading to tingling or numbness in your foot or toes.

5. Difficulty Walking or Bearing Weight

Severe pain in the abductor hallucis can make it challenging to walk normally or put weight on the affected foot.

Treatment To Prevent And Manage Pain In The Abductor Hallucis

If you’re experiencing pain in the abductor hallucis, there are various treatment options available to help alleviate your discomfort and promote healing. Here are some common approaches:

1. Rest and Ice

The first line of defense is to rest the affected foot and apply ice packs to the area for 15-20 minutes several times per day. This can help reduce inflammation and pain.

2. Over-the-Counter Medications

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

3. Stretching and Physical Therapy

Gentle stretching exercises and physical therapy can help improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion in the affected area. A physical therapist can provide specific exercises tailored to your condition.

4. Supportive Footwear and Orthotics

Wearing shoes with proper arch support and cushioning can take the pressure off the abductor hallucis muscle. Additionally, custom orthotics or insoles can help correct any biomechanical issues contributing to the pain.

5. Taping or Bracing

Your healthcare provider may recommend taping or bracing techniques to provide additional support and stability to the affected area during the healing process.

6. Shockwave Therapy

In some cases, extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) may be used to promote healing and reduce pain in the abductor hallucis muscle.

7. Corticosteroid Injections

For more severe cases, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation and pain in the affected area.

8. Surgery

In rare and severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair any damaged or torn tissues in the abductor hallucis muscle.

Also Read:- What Is A Foot Reflexology Chart? A Guide To Pressure Points


Pain in the abductor hallucis muscle can be a frustrating and debilitating condition, but with proper understanding and treatment, relief is possible. By recognizing the causes and symptoms, you can take proactive steps to prevent further injury and manage the pain effectively.

Remember, seeking professional medical advice is crucial if the pain persists or worsens, as untreated abductor hallucis pain can lead to other foot issues like plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, or bunions.

Don’t let this nagging pain hold you back from living an active and comfortable life. With the right treatment plan and a commitment to self-care, you can find relief and get back on your feet, quite literally.


  1. NIH (n.d) Abductor Hallucis: Anatomical Variation and Its Clinical Implications in the Reconstruction of Chronic Nonhealing Ulcers and Defects of Foot Available Online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4651031/
  2. Loyola University Chicago (n.d) ABDUCTOR HALLUCIS Available Online at: https://www.meddean.luc.edu/lumen/meded/grossanatomy/dissector/mml/abhf.htm

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