Peroneus Longus Stretch

If you are not one of the 5 friends who regularly visit this blog, then I will hazard a guess that you have a problem with your peroneus longus.

Your peroneus longus is the muscle that runs down the side of your lower leg. Sports Injury Clinic  describes it as, “…one of the peroneals muscle group which pass down the outside of the lower leg and evert (turn out) the foot.”

I run and I’m a supinator. When I log more miles than what my legs and feet want to do, they lodge their complaint by making my PLs so tight. Regular stretching and massage helps me manage the pain and the tightness.

Below is my new favorite PL stretch. I discovered this last Sunday after I ran a slow and painful half marathon.

1. Set up. Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Scoot over to the edge of your bed or chair. Your feet should be under your knees. Inhale and exhale then tighten your abs. Sit tall with your back straight and relax your shoulders. A simple trick to keep your back straight and lifted is to imagine a thread pulling you up from the center of your head. Inhale, exhale.

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2. Prepare to stretch. Maintain the alignment of your back and pull your knees away from each other. Let your feet slide in and turn until your soles touch. If your PLs are really tight, you would already feel a stretch when you pull your knees apart.

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3. Stretch. Put your hands on the side of your knees. Inhale, make sure your back is still straight, chest is lifted and your abs are tight; exhale, bend from your hips and gently push your knees in. Inhale and release the tension on your knees, exhale and push again. Reset to set up position and do 2 or 3 more sets.

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4. Release. Do a few ankle rotations after this stretch.

Tips:

1. Keeping your back straight, chest wide and abs tight will help to really isolate the peroneous longus. If you round your back or if you dont bend far enough, it will be hard to isolate and stretch the muscle.

2. Breathing is key to stretching. Inhale to prepare and exhale as your stretch.

3. Adjust the way your soles are touching to further isolate the peroneous longus. My adjustment is to open up my soles a bit so that only ball of my feet under the big toes and my heels are touching. I sometimes flex my toes also.

4.  There shouldn’t be pain in your knees or ankles when you do this stretch. Adjust till you find the best alignment for your body.

5.  I recommend consulting a physio or a rehab doc when you encounter any injury or experience pain.

This simple stretch helped me a lot, if you decide to try it,  I hope it can help you manage your pain also. Please click here if  you want to read up on the other stretches I do to manage my pesky PLs.

Happy stretching!

Thanks R for helping me with this post.

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39 thoughts on “Peroneus Longus Stretch

    1. Thanks for showing me the Peroneus longus stetch, it’s a good one.
      I had somewhat of a breakthrough yesterday in trying to sort out my plantar fascia heel pain.

      I set myself to run 3 x 40 minute loops near my house. 20 minutes into the run the heel pain came on. I walked a bit ran a bit. When I got back to my house I changed shoes to a new pair I had bought a few days ago. From the first step outside the pain was gone. I ran a further hour pain free before the pain slowly came on again – but fair enough the PF had already been aggravated on the first loop.

      I closely examined all my old shoes afterwards and found that the right heel is being distorted out of shape over time. I read from this that I am landing heavily on the right heel (my PF pain is in right foot only). So with every step in the old shoes the PF is being tugged a little bit in a fashion that it does not enjoy. I’m confident now that I can ice and treat the injury, replace running with workouts on the stationary bike (yuk!) for a week, and I reckon I can get it to come good. Oh, and retire the old shoes, of course.

      1. Hope you are enjoying your new shoes. And yes, changing shoes is key. Sometimes, the uppers are still fine but the outer soles are really worn out. Some websites recommend monitoring kms logged in running shoes and capping mileage at 600km for each pair.

  1. Thank you for your website.
    I injured my peroneus longus higher up toward the attachment near the Fibula. I’m pretty sure that this was caused by running on curved, uneven sidewalks near our hotel on vacation. I took it easy for about a week (same mileage but slower). Now I’m back to normal training. The soreness is still there but I feel it’s slowly getting better. Massage helps a great deal. It seems to be a problem that I’ll be able to “run through”. My problem seems more muscular than tendon. For tendonitis I would exercise the area moderately (5 minutes), stretch (30 seconds at least) and ice water (10 minutes) -in that order. several times a day until the problem went away. Cured my insertional achilles tendonitis with that!
    Good Luck… Keep on Running!

  2. I’ve had heel pain since May 2011 and have been treated as though I have plantar fasciitis which has included: an X-ray, a support “sock,” , stretching, ice, rest, 6 wks of PT, a bone scan,stretching ice, rest, air cast, crutches,* MRI*, one cortisone injection, stretches, ice rest, blood work to rule out any autoimmune process (negative, thank God), and finally, orthotics. Regarding the MRI results, “not significant. showing microscopic tears (which is consistent with most of the general population) but very significant inflammation.” My Orthopedic Surgeon is at a lost and basically, left me with “this is as good as it’s going to get.” So, with that said, I’m beginning to question if my plantar fascia is the problem. Maybe it’s coming from my calves, i.e. peroneus longus.

    My question for you is, did you experience pain in your foot/heel that mimicked plantar fasciitis pain?

    Desperate to run again…..

    1. Hi michelle, the things we are willing to go through to run again, eh.

      To answer your question, yes, i also have a problem with my plantar fascia.
      There are days when i run and suddenly feel like i have a golf ball under my arches. I tape arches whenever i run now for support. Plus i get deep tissue leg and foot massage when it acts up.

      I was able to target my peroneus longus because it really gets tight after my runs.

      Have you considered heel spurs?

      Im no doctor or med professional just a fellow crazy runner. My suggestion would probably be to make sure the swelling is down before you resume training. It will be hard. But rest we must.

      1. So very true. The crazy runner I am and I am determined to get back to running. I’m now at a point where I’ll try just about anything. With that said, I just had my first trigger point massage yesterday and she focused on my fibularis (peroneus) longus as well as the brevis and gastroc. Wow! I didn’t realize how tight my calves were. My heel pain is a little less today than it has been so I’m hopeful that maybe after a few more treatments I may actually find some relief. If this doesn’t work, I may consider accupuncture.

        I learned a few stretches for this area and will also be trying the one you posted.

        As far as heel spurs both my X-ray and MRI were negative. I’m a mild pronator and have normal arches which leaves me so puzzled as to why this? Recovery from other running injuries I’ve had seemed so much easier.

        One of the many reasons I love running is to keep my sanity in check and my sanity is walking a fine line…lol.

    2. Aha, Michelle, we have the same symptoms, I have been investigating my heel pain (from running) for a few weeks. Have never been a sufferer of plantar fasciitis but it seems to be it – however, I now believe it is coming from a tight and sore peroneus longus muscle. Massage right on the sore spot, realy driving my thumbs in and pushinbg through the knots, seems to be really helping. I’m confident that the heel pain will come good once the muscle comes good.

      1. As I approach one year with this injury, I do hope your experience with plantar fasciitis is much shorter. If you want to keep this from getting any worse or having it in your other foot, I MUST recommend a few things to you now that I’ve been through every conservative treatment out there. FOCUS ON PREVENTION!

        Do NOT stretch the plantar fascia–it’s already over stretched & inflamed, hence the pain.

        DO strengthen it by doing toe curls and walking barefoot as much as you can.

        Do strengthen the calves, hamstrings and glutes. There’s a strong likelihood that one of those areas could actually be the problem thereby causing the strain on your PF.

        Do stretch and get trigger point release massages (from the lower back down to your toes) by some one knowledgeable and good. I don’t mean a “fu-fu” type massage. It should hurt!

        NO ORTHOTICS! You’re only supporting the injury. It only temporarily relieves the pain.

        Wear a Night Splint until healed. It will keep your PF relaxed/slightly stretched so that when you step out of bed you don’t re-injur it by the force of your own body weight. As you sleep, the PF tightens/contracts. Take one step and it stretches an already over stretched tissue.

        Good luck to you!!!

      2. Wow, thanks for your generous advice Michelle. I will definitely make use of your suggestions and sincerely hope I am not struggling with this in 12 months time.

  3. I have all sorts of running related problems that I am trying to figure out. I was checking on the peroneus and found this page. Mine gets tight and has been again after hip surgery this summer. My left foot everts out and I suppinate on that side (although I was told yesterday it was inverting). Anyhow admist all the doctors I am seeing, I went back to a podiatrist I saw 1 1/2 years ago and he did some manipulations on my feet like he did back then. I was doing up to 85 miles a week after his earlier manipulations and his orthotics, but fell apart soon after due to a labral tear in my hip. While doing the manipulations he mentioned the peroneal (that is why I was looking it up) as he manipulated the cuboid in the foot. From his page here http://www.vasylimedical.com/pdf/VasyliMedical%20Manipulation%20of%20the%20Cuboid_PF.pdf on the manipulation he says, “5. Peroneal tendon pain: Peroneal tendon pain and/or peroneal cuboid syndrome can be synonymous with cuboid restriction.” Here is the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6G4FB37LWM. It seems there are other manipulations out there for the cuboid. It may be a long shot, but might be something you look into from a knowledgeable chiropractor or podiatrist. Plus I get the plantar like soreness when it is tight. It is something new to think about for me, so I am no expert. I will try your stretches however.

  4. Thank you so much for this stretch. I don’t know a lot about running form but I had intense foot pain after a really long run enough that I couldn’t even put weight on it. After Internet snooping I figured the pain centered around the peroneus longus in my foot…and low and behold when I did this stretch I realized how tight that muscle was. Thanks again

  5. After running for about 20 minutes or so this muscle would just seize/lock up on me. I had the hardest time ever finding out what this muscle IS. This stretch has helped immensely – thanks for posting it!

  6. I’m trying to get back into running and doing it rather slow, even offsetting days on treadmill – just walking – and recumbent cycling in order to prep my lower legs for the pounding but the Pls’ are hurting too much to make any progress. Thanks for the advice.

    1. This could just be me and my PLs, but I find that they act up more when I run on the treadmill. If you can, try running outdoor as well. Good luck and thanks for dropping by. Stretch! Stretch! :o)

      1. I’ll pay attention to that, it seems so far in the beginning that the bounce u get from the treadmill feels a lil better, but u might be right. Thanks for the thoughts.

  7. I am a soccer player and these muscles have been a nuisance for a couple months now. The problem actually started with shin splints, and the shin splints went away but left this peroneal problem in their wake. I have tried many stretches and I am having loads of trouble targeting the peroneal muscles. Not sure if I’m doing something wrong, but it feels like they’re not tight enough to be stretched, when I do any suggested peroneal stretch I don’t feel anything. But they are definitely painful, I can feel it when I massage them Very tough muscle to deal with! Icing, rest and daily Ibuprofen overdose seem to be the only things that make it possible to play once a week. Any ideas?

  8. Reblogged this on Being Stephen Lee…. and commented:
    I don’t like to jog, not only because of my knee injury….but also this severe pain on the side of my lower leg. I thought I am weird, but I decided to pick up jogging again and this pain can’t get in the way. So I googled and found a fellow wordpress blogger who has the same problem and solved by stretching. Here we go, I am gonna try this!

  9. Thanks so much for this post! I thought I was the only one that had this problem, but I guess not. The stretch works great.

  10. Thank you! I also run and supinate. When I first started running I had cramps in this muscle but I think a change in shoes has helped that. (Brooks). I’m training for a half and find these stretches so helpful, especially for hill repeats. I’m a novice runner and rely on running blogs, websites, and advice from friends, so this is quite helpful. What shoes do you find are best for you?

    1. Hi Kim, im a mizuno girl. Im using the new wave rider. I also alternate it with the older version of lunar glide. i prefer sohoes that has soft insoles and rides a bit low.

  11. Hi Bards,
    After more than two months of severe pain, relentless physiotherapy and truckloads of medicine, no doctor has been able to diagnose what the problem is. I have just come back from what I feel are needless blood tests though after spending hours on the net, I finally seem to have figured out what my mysterious problem is.

    Is it normal if my ankle doesn’t pain at all but the side of the knee hurts like anything? The pain is a constant 5/10 and gets to 7-8 even if I get slightly active. I need to strengthen my glutes, hams and calves which must be the reason I developed this condition in the first place.

    How long do you think it will take from this point to recover? Also if you could tell me some self massages, that would be really helpful.

    1. Hullo Raunaq, happy new year. First off I just want to say that I’m no medical or physio practioner, I am just someone who suffered through tight and painful PLs and sharing what I have learned along the way. When I had tight PLs, I did not have ankle or knee pain but I had woobly legs and cannot control them very well because of the tightness. You might want to consider consulting with a rehab med doctor and see what they say.

      Recovery …Everybody is different. It took a lot of patience and mix and match approach for me to recover. I did lotsa stretches, balancing exercises (yoga based) to strengthen the PLs and even tried acupuncture. I think it all contributed to the For maintenance, stretching and self-massage really worked for me. Plus, I also worked on my running form by doing running drills.

      For self-massages, I use trigger point roller but a tennis ball will work just fine. You gotta work through those knots.
      Check out this other post too for more stretches (https://bananarunning.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/leg-muscle-101-peroneus-longus/)

    2. Raunaq, if it’s knee pain, get to a gym and start loving on the leg extension machine for your quads. I had ITBS and overcompensation damage on my good knee. I spent months doing single leg extensions to activate my VMO. It’s been years since I had any knee issues. Do them real slow while stopping and holding various positions….watch the VMO activate by jiggling. Good luck.

      1. Hey,

        Been one and a half months since I discovered what my problem was. Tennis ball exercises and massage along with regular visits to the chiropractor seemed to have solved the PL issue only for it to rear again in recent weeks. I haven’t been running at all. Seems that the knots have gotten really tight over the months.

        Planning to join a gym for the legs when the chiropractor gives the green light.

      2. What’s your mileage and speed like before pesky PL problem came back? Sometimes it is also a combination of increase in mileage or speed or sometimes even the shoes you wear.

      1. Raunaq, not that I’m a doctor, but if you’re able to walk in a standard pattern, I would venture to guess it has lass to do with nerves and more to do with muscles and tendon tightness. Mind you, I’m currently recovering from Peroneal Tendonitis in my Right foot going on 10 weeks and Left foot for 1.5 weeks.

        This has been the most excrutiating and depressing injury I’ve ever had, this coming from someone who has torn and pulled most things below the waist. What I’m doing currently are some eccentric exercises for my ankles, and have noticed incredible improvement in 2 days. I live in the Netherlands where finding an xray or mri is impossible unless you’re dying. Plus, I have to choose between walking or biking to work, so you can imagine the frustration.

        I’d be curious to know more about your issue. Stay positive. As a sufferer of anxiety, which doesn’t help me in this situation, I completely sympathize with your situation.

  12. Hey Rich,

    So, the problem persists. And even though there might be some pain in the ankle region, it’s negligible and the main problem remains the fibular head area. It’s been six months now.

    But I am hoping that I have found the root of the problem. My right foot is overpronated massively which puts pressure on the peroneal nerve.

    I have had orthotics made which I was told might solve the problem with time. Now I don’t think that a damaged nerve can repair with time or with exercises. So need to go to a neurologist soon. What is surprising is that the MRI of the right knee never showed anything.

    1. Raunaq,

      Good to hear from you again, and that you may have found a solution. I’ve since recovered from the whole episode thanks to a wicked PT here. Funny thing was, he put my joints through all kinds of tests, and determined that I was extremely flexible and that the stretching and worrying was exacerbating the issue. He simply told me not to stretch and the issue would resolve itself…..oddly enough, it did. I just had a shorter calf on my right side probably due to the achilles tendonitis I suffered shortly before the peroneal issue, and told me to gently stretch just that calf.

      I’ve put a lot of thought into the problem. The PT didnt find anything abnormal, plus I made an astounding recovery in just 2 weeks after seeing him. Considering I’m also just getting over a pinched nerve in my shoulder which caused carpal tunnel like problems….which he corrected quite easily too….and wonder if stress is probably a huge factor.

      People here in the Netherlands are horrible pronators because of the sidewalks yet don’t seem to have issues running daily or walking everywhere, which is part of daily life. But, they aslo take 4 vacations a year, and in some cases only work 4 days a week….they’re really not stressed.

      I never had these issues until my first son hit 3 months old back in December last year. Since then, I’ve gone from a seemingly healthy professional to what feels like being 100 years old, suffering from pinched nerves, tight back muscles, insomnia, RSIs. But, I also kill myself with my job.

      I encourage you to be as positive as possible with the orthotics. You may find that that was all that was needed. In the meantine time, I’d recommend reading some mind-body books. And don’t stress over the nerve thing. Nerves can repair themselves so don’t worry yourself about that. Go to the store and buy some B Complex and Omega 3-6-9. Pop the recommended dosage with breakfast and go about you day.

      I look forward to hearing positive news from you.

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