What Is Plantar Flexion and Why Is It Important?

what is plantar flexion

What Is Plantar Flexion and Why Is It Important: It is the motion of the foot downwards, to the side of the leg. It is the opposite of dorsiflexion which is the motion of the foot up towards the leg. Plantar flexion takes place near the ankle joint. It is used for activities like running, walking, or jumping. It is also essential for keeping your stability.

What is plantar flexion?

It refers to a move that occurs when the foot’s top is pointing at your leg. It is used when you stand on the tips of your toe or move your toe.

The range of motion in this particular position is unique. Several muscles control plantar flexion. Injuries to these muscles may restrict the range of motion you can perform and hinder the ability of you to perform activities that require flexion of your plantar.

What is the purpose of the motion?

Plantar flexion is most commonly used in the following situations:

  • You’re stretching out and turn towards your.
  • You walk on your tips, as if it’s your turn to get something from an elevated shelf.
  • Press down on the accelerator of your car.
  • Ballet dancers dance at the tips of the toes (on the pointe).

In lesser amounts there is also plantar flexion for running, walking and swimming, dancing or cycling.

Which muscles are utilized?

It is the coordination of various muscles in your foot, ankle, and leg. It includes:

Gastrocnemius: This muscle makes up a large portion of the calf muscle.

Soleus the soleus muscle also plays an important role when it comes to plantar flexion. Similar to the gastrocnemius muscle it’s also one of the calf muscles at the rear part of the leg.

Plantaris A long muscle that is thin and wide is located on the rear of the leg beginning at the end of the thighbone into the Achilles tendon. The plantaris muscle functions in combination to the Achilles tendon to allow you to bend your knee and ankle. 

Flexor hallucis longusThis muscle is deep inside your leg. It runs along the lower leg, all until the big toe. It assists you in flexing your big toe to ensure that you can walk with ease and keep yourself straight while walking on tips of your toes.

Flexor digitorum lengthyus: It is another of the muscles that are deep in the leg’s lower part. It begins thin, but then expands as it goes through the leg. It aids in stretching all toes, excluding the toe with the biggest toe.

Tibialis posterior The tibialis posterior smaller muscle that is located deep within the leg’s lower part. It’s involved in both inversion and plantarflexion — the process of turns the sole of your foot to the side of the foot.

Peroneus longus Also known as fibularis longus This muscle is located along the side of your lower leg, all the way to the big toe. It’s a part of the tibialis posterior muscles to ensure that your ankle stays in place when standing on tiptoe. It’s involves in both plantar flexion as well as ever. This is when you rotate the sole of your foot away from the opposite foot.

Peroneus Brevis: The peroneus brevis or fibularis brevis muscle, lies beneath the peroneus longus. “Brevis” means “short” in Latin. The peroneus brevis is smaller in comparison to the longer peroneus. It assists in keeping your foot in place during plantar flexion.

What happens if these muscles get injured?

A strain or injury to any of the muscles that help support plantar flexion may restrict your ability to bend the foot, or even stand tip-toe. 

They can occur when you need to move quickly like basketball or sports that require jumping.

The swelling restricts the movement. Depending on the severity of your injury, it may not be able to lift your toes or walk on toes until the injury heals.

What Treatment options are there?

Ankle sprains that are mild are generally treated using the RICE technique:

  • Rest your ankle. Do not place any weight on the injured ankle.
  • Ice. Cover an ice-pack with a clean cloth and rest it over the area of injury for twenty minutes each stretch often throughout the day. The cold will help reduce the swelling. Apply ice for the first 48 hours following an injury.
  • Compression. Apply an elastic bandages to the ankle that has been injury. his will help reduce swelling.
  • Elevate. Place the injured ankle with a pillow in order to raise it above your heart. Lifting the injured area can help reduce swelling.

Sprains heal normally within some hours or days. If your ankle is broke and you are unable to heal, you might need to put on the cast. For more serious fractures, you may need surgery to repair the fractured bone. Surgery may require a plate or screws to help hold the bone in place as it heals.

How to prevent injuries

Intensifying the muscle groups in your leg, ankle, and foot that assist in plantar flexion keeps the foot in a good shape, secure your ankle and help prevent injury in the future. Physical therapists can instruct you how to perform these exercises properly.

A good pair of shoes can assist you in avoiding injuries. Make sure you are fits every when you purchase new shoes. Avoid high-heeled shoes — particularly those with narrow, high heels that don’t help your ankle.

Visit a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon for guidance on how you can keep your ankles and feet healthy and avoid any problems with plantar flexion prior to when they may begin.


In conclusion, plantarflexion is an essential movement since it lets us run, walk and leap. Without it then we would not be in a position to move with our feet in the ways needed to perform these activities. While we might not even think about plantar flexion as you are doing these exercises but it is an integral component of them.