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Extensor digitorum longus



Extensor digitorum longus - anterior view
Extensor digitorum longus - lateral view

General information

  • This section is strictly limited to anatomy, you might be looking for clinical relevant information which is found under the clinical chapters -- muscles section, click here to go to that page


  • The distal part of the muscle is superficial
  • The most proximal part of the muscle is deep to tibialis anterior and fibularis longus


  • Lateral condyle tibia
  • Anterior surface of the body of fibula
    • Proximal 3/4
  • Membrana interosseus
    • Proximal 1/3
  • Deep fasicae


  • Dorsal aspect of 2-5 toes
    • Via digital expansion

Main function

  • Ankle
    • Dorsiflexion
    • Evertion
  • MTP toes
    • Extension
  • IP toes
    • Extension

Nerve innervation

  • Segmental
    • L5-S1
  • Peripheral
    • Deep fibular nerve

Arterial supply

  • Anterior tibial artery


  • Patient positoin
    • Supine
  • Place your hand on the dorsal surface of the patient's foot
  • Ask the patient to extend the 2-5 toes while you feel for the contraction of the tendons
  • Follow the tendons as far proximally as possible
  • When palpating the muscle belly
    • Palpate along the anterior part of the calf just laterally to tibiae in the area between tibialis anterior and peroneus longus
    • NB! Tibialis anterior is the muscle which is located most proximal to tibiae of the three aforementioned muscles, followed by extensor digitorum longus and peroneus longus

Strength test

  • Patient position
    • Supine
  • Stabilize the patient's foot in a slight plantarflexed position
  • Put pressure towards the dorsal surface of the 2-5 toes in a flexion direction so that the patient gives force towrads extension
  • This test also affects the extensor digitorum brevis

Muscle weakness

  • Can give a resemblance to drop foot
  • Can also give varus position of the front foot
  • Weakness in this muscle lowers the ability to dorsalflex the ankle as well as performing evertion
  • Can cause flatfoot - in people with flatfoot, the extensor digitorum longus is markedly weak