What is Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot and What is its Function?

In the ankle there is an important structure called the Flexor Retinaculum. This structure consists of a fibrous band of fascia, a stretch of dense connective tissues. The Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot is also known by the name of laciniate ligament and it covers the tendons of the flexor muscles present in the ankle. To be specific, the tendons covered by the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot are the tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum longus, and flexor hallucis longus, the function of all of these tendons being to facilitate flexion of the foot such that the toes are able to be pointed downwards. The main function of the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot is to ensure that these tendons stay in their precise location and do not dislocate or move away from their respective locations as this may cause problems for the individual in the form of ankle pain and difficulty walking. To be complete, the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot acts as a network of tissues and muscles that surround the entire ankle joint.

Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot

The Flexor Retinaculum of the foot can be strained or injured due to a variety of reasons. Sportsmen involved in running and sprinting can strain or inflame this structure. Also people who stand for prolonged period of time during their job duties are also at risk for injuring or straining the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot. Once this structure gets injured then the individual will find it difficult to stand, ambulate, run or negotiate stairs comfortably as it puts extra pressure on the ankles and thus inflames the Flexor retinaculum of the Foot even more. Treatment for Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot is normally conservative with gels and pads along with hot and cold packs to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Signs and Symptoms of Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot

Some of the symptoms of Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot are:

  • Severe pain in the foot and ankle
  • The patient will experience a numbness sensation on the plantar surface of the foot and ankle.
  • This pain may also radiate towards the medial malleolus
  • The patient may also experience severe pain with range of motion of the ankle and thus may have limited ankle motion.
  • The patient may also find it difficulty to ambulate and may have a significant limp due to injury or strain of flexor retinaculum of the foot.

What can Cause Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot?

Some of the activities that can result in Flexor Retinaculum Foot Strain are:

  • Sporting activities which require a lot of jumping thus putting stress on the ankle like volleyball and basketball predispose the individual for an injury or Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot
  • People who work as greeters and are on their feet for a prolonged period of time are also at risk for injuring the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot
  • Sportsmen who participate in long jump are also at increased risk of injuring the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot as they put excessive amounts of strain to the ankle when they are about to take the leap.

Risk Factors of Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot

Some of the medical conditions that can result in Flexor Retinaculum Foot Strain are:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight to wear and have a narrow toe box
  • Pregnant females are also at risk for damaging the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot
  • Diabetic are at an increased risk for damaging the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot
  • People with thyroid disorders are also predisposed to injuries to the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot.

What is the Treatment for Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot?

Some of the treatments for Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot are:

Cold Therapy to Treat Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot: There are many forms of gels and cold packs available in the market and over the counter which can go a long way in helping with treatment of an injured Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot. The gels that are available are normally used immediately after an injury or strain to the flexor retinaculum of the foot as it immediately cools the area and prevents swelling from developing in the area. Use of gels or coolants can help heal injuries to the Flexor Retinaculum of the faster normal application of ice and the pain relief is more longer lasting. The gel is used by rubbing it at the injured site up to the ankle.

Warm Therapy to Treat Strained Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot: This type of therapy can also be used for treating injured or strained flexor retinaculum of the foot. This gel provides adequate warmth to the injured area without actually burning the area. It works fantastically well in relieving pain and stiffness post an injury to the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot. This gel needs to be put at the ankle and rubbed thoroughly for best results. It should be noted here that warm therapy should never be used when using ice packs or heat packs as this may result in blistering of the skin

Ankle Brace and Support: These types of wraps are quite adjustable and help in providing support to the injured Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot. These wraps are helpful in providing adequate compression and facilitate relaxation of the injured area to facilitate speedy healing from injury to the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot.

Ankle Compression Socks: The compression socks these days have become the go-to product for athletes and other professional sportsmen to prevent any type of injuries to the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot. These kinds of socks help prevent stiffness and soreness and also help with pain and inflammation associated with strained flexor retinaculum of the foot. The fabric with which this sock is made up of keeps the skin dry. This type of compression sock helps a great deal when it comes to injury to the Flexor Retinaculum of the Foot.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: November 2, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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