What is Tibialis Anterior Muscle and What is its Function?
The Tibialis Anterior Muscle is located on the anterior compartment of the leg and is the largest muscle found in this region. This muscle gets its blood supply from the anterior tibial artery. The main function of Tibialis Anterior Muscle is to facilitate flexion of the foot upwards and extension of the toes. The Tibialis Anterior Muscle originates from the outer surface of the tibia and inserts into the first metatarsal bone in the foot which is located behind the big toe. Any type of Strain or Injury to the Tibialis Anterior Muscle will result in inability of the patient to flex the foot and extend the toes resulting in difficulty with ambulation. An injury to this muscle can also put excess pressure on the ankles resulting in them getting weak causing imbalance when walking. The patient will also find it difficult to negotiate stairs and indulge in recreational activities like dancing, running, jogging and the like.
Signs and Symptoms of Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain
If there is a suspicion of a Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain or Injury then the following symptoms may be experienced:
- Pain in the big toe can be a sign or symptoms of tibialis anterior muscle strain
- Pain in the front of the ankle and shin
- Swelling along the shinbone
- Ankle weakness
- Dropfoot abnormality.
What Can Cause Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain?
Some of the activities that may result in Strained Tibialis Anterior Muscle are:
- Running or walking on uneven surfaces may result in a Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain.
- If a person is involved in negotiating stairs frequently then it puts extra pressure on this muscle resulting in tibialis anterior muscle strain.
- If an individual has suffered an ankle sprain some time back and bears weight on the ankle before it has healed then it also puts extra pressure on the Tibialis Anterior Muscle as the ankles are still weak and can result in a strain or injury to this muscle.
Risk Factors for Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain
There are also certain medical conditions that may result in a strained tibialis anterior muscle. These medical conditions are:
- Anterior compartment syndrome
- Use of shin splints
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Hammertoe deformity
- Clawtoe deformity
What is the Treatment for Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain?
Treatment for Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain is normally conservative. Some of the treatment measures are:
Adequate Rest: To begin with, the patient needs to rest and not bear weight on the injured foot for a week or so to allow healing of the strained tibialis muscle strain. It will also allow inflammation and swelling to come down.
Heat and Ice Therapy to Treat Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain: The next step towards treatment for an injured or strained Tibialis Anterior Muscle is application of heat and ice. The patient may apply ice packs to the injured area for 15-20 minutes two to three times a day. The patient can also use warm compresses to the injured foot to calm down the swelling and inflammation. One should make sure that both ice and warm treatments should not be given simultaneously.
NSAID to Treat Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain: Anti-inflammatory medications like Tylenol or ibuprofen is prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation associated with strained tibialis anterior muscle.
Wrap: Compression wraps are also quite beneficial in treatment of Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain as they compress the region and allow for healing to occur. It also helps in calming down the swelling and inflammation associated with Strained Tibialis Anterior Muscle.