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Plantarflexion (or plantar flexion) is the movement which increases the approximate 90 degree angle between the front part of the foot and the shin, as when depressing an automobile pedal or standing on the tiptoes. The word "plantar" is commonly understood in medical terminology as the bottom of the foot - it translates as "toward the sole". This movement is normally performed in either the supine, prone or standing position. The muscles involved in plantar flexion are mostly in the posterior compartment, the superficial posterior compartment, and the lateral compartment. Those in the lateral compartment only have weak participation in plantar flexion though.
The range of motion for plantar flexion is usually indicated in the literature as 30° to 40°, but sometimes also 50°.
The nerves are primarily from the sacral spinal cord roots S1 and S2. Compression of S1 roots may result in weakness in plantar flexion, these nerves run from the lower back to the bottom of the foot. Most athletes at one time or another are known to suffer from plantar flexion pain that occurs mostly around the ankle and the heel. The cause of this pain is known as Plantar fasciitis, which is the chronic injury caused by repetitive plantar flexion. Often patients describe morning foot paint when taking their first few steps once they are out of the bed, which is the result of the foot constantly in plantar flexion motion all through the night. A contributing factor to the pain can also be caused by excessive weight gain or a sudden change in exercise routine. constant plantar flexion can lead to foot problems like flat feet, pain in the heel and tightness in the Achilles tendon. To prevent aching feet it is imperative that one strengthens their lower leg muscles and shin splits. One of the best exercises for the muscles and joints involved in plantar flexion is calf raises. This is done by standing up with the knees slightly bent and the legs shoulder width apart; from there raise yourself by standing on your tippy toes and then return to the start postion by lowering yourself.
Primary muscles for plantar flexion are:
- Posterior compartment of leg
Narayani Karthik, Plantar Flexion. Buzzle. October 4, 2011 http://www.buzzle.com/articles/plantar-flexion.html
Livestrong Contributor. 5 Things You Need to Know About Plantar Flexion. Livestrong.com December 31, 1996 http://www.livestrong.com/article/9676-need-plantar-flexion/
- Plantarflexion at eMedicine Dictionary
- Diagram at gla.ac.uk
- Overview at exrx.net - ankle
- Overview exrx.net - foot
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