The peroneus longus is one of three peroneus muscles that run down the outside of your lower leg. It originates in the fibula, the outside of your two lower leg bones, inserting into your foot bones – the cuneiform and metatarsals on top of the foot. According to "The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," exercises for the peroneus longus help strengthen your ankle and improve balance and stability.
The peroneus longus together with the peroneus brevis that runs beneath it, and the peroneus tertius located just above the foot, helps move your foot at the ankle. The peroneus longus works with the peroneus brevis to plantar flex your foot – point your toes downward -- and acts in concert with the peroneus brevis and peroneus tertius to turn your foot outward. All three peroneal muscles work to stabilize your foot and ankle when walking on uneven surfaces.
Weak peroneus longus muscles may make you more prone to ankle sprains or rolling your foot in a fall. Resistance-machine calf exercises, such as the seated calf raise, strengthen your peroneus longus. Sit on the calf-raise station bench, place the balls of your feet on the foot platform with your heels hanging over the edge. Secure the lever pad on top of your legs above your knees. Push down with your toes and raise your heels as high as you can, then lower your heels until you feel a stretch in your calves. Use a light weight that allows you to do 15 to 20 repetitions with proper technique and a full range of motion.
Use bodyweight exercises to strengthen your peroneus longus. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on the back of a chair to maintain your balance. Keeping your legs straight, push down with your toes and raise your heels as high as you can. Lower your heels to the floor and repeat for 15 to 20 repetitions or until you feel your calves tightening.
The step raise is a bodyweight exercise that fully stretches your calves as you strengthen your peroneus longus. Stand on the edge of a step with your heels hanging over the edge. Keep your legs straight and drop your heels as low as you can before pushing up onto your toes. Do 12 to 15 reps or as many as possible until you feel your calves burning.
You may find there is a price to pay for wearing those fashionable high heels that make your legs look oh-so long. According to a study published in the August 2010 issue of the “Journal of Experimental Biology,” high heels may cause shortening of your calf and proneus longus muscles, causing discomfort and postural problems. Stretching exercises may provide some relief. Sit on a chair and place your right ankle on your left knee. Grasp your right foot with both hands, pull your toes away from your ankle and turn the sole of your foot upward. Hold the stretch for a slow count of 10, relax and repeat three times, then change legs.
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Facilitating Activation of the Peroneus Longus: Electromyographic Analysis of Exercises Consistent With Biomechanical Function.
- GetBody Smart: Fibularis (Petronius) Longus Muscle
- Ask The Trainer: Best Stretching and Strengthening Exercises for the Peroneal Muscles
- The Journal of Experimental Biology: Why Walking Flat-Footed Hurts After High Heels
- SportsInjuryClinic.set: Peroneal Stretch
- Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images
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