Monday, May 11, 2020

What Supports The Medial Arch

I've been trying to keep myself busy during the CB and catch up on my reading and watching. Not watching Netflix, mind you. I don't have a Netflix account. At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur, I have never watched anything on Netflix.

Anyway, I've been trying to learn about the human body and how to best treat it when it's under duress. So here's sharing what I've learnt about the medial (or inner) arch and also by putting whatever I've learnt down, I can always refer back to this.


The human medial arch has a four muscles supporting it. Namely, Tibialis Anterior, Tibialis Posterior, Flexor Flexor Digitorum Longus  and Flexor Hallucis Longus (the last 3 are also known as Tom, Dick and Harry).
Back of R leg
Tom, Dick and Harry start from the back of the leg as seen in the picture above. Flexor Hallucis Longus (FHL), or Harry goes under the talus to the bottom of the big toe. This muscle carries the whole weight of the body while we push off while walking. This is also the same muscle that can cause bunions, as it puts undue pressure between the sesamoid bones under the big toe. But that will have to be another much longer post.
FHL goes in between the sesamoid bones under the big toe
I'm especially fascinated with the Tibialis Posterior muscle, especially how it attaches at the bottom of the foot in the picture below. See how wide and diverse the attachments are. It attaches to the calcaneus, the navicular bone, the 2nd - 4th metatarsals and also the cuboid.
Bottom of R foot
Other than the muscles, there is also the plantar fascia, helping to support the medial arch. Much more important than the muscles are the deeper arch support consisting of the Long Plantar Ligament (which attaches to the base of metatarsals and cuneiforms) and especially the Spring Ligament.

a = plantar fascia, b = long plantar ligament
The spring ligament is also known as the calcaneonavicular ligament (c in the picture above). It goes from the sustentaculum tali to the talus. It really acts like a trampoline to prevent your talus from flattening when you weight bear. This is most important for lifting or supporting our arches.

Typically, when we talk about arch support, we would think of taping the arch, changing our shoes, putting arch supports or orthotics into our shoes. But as you can see from the picture above that none of them can really help the spring ligament in supporting our arches.

We can really only affect/ or treat the muscles and the plantar fascia. Remember this. You may not need to buy anything fancy to support the spring ligament.


Another look at the dissected medial arch. 9 is the Long plantar ligament, 10 is the plantar fascia and 11 is the spring ligament.

Now you know.

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