The tibialis anterior muscle is the muscle located in the front part of the shin bone of your lower leg. The muscle courses from an area just below your knee, down the front of your shin, and finally attaches to the top of your foot.
Function of the Tibialis Anterior Muscle
Your anterior tibialis muscle serves to help flex your ankle and foot off the ground, as occurs when tapping your foot. The muscle also helps to pull your foot in, a motion called inversion. Since the anterior tibial muscle attaches to the top of your foot, it also helps to raise the arch of your foot.
Problems That Can Occur
A few different problems can occur with your anterior tibialis muscle that may cause functional mobility limitations. These may include:
Weakness in the muscle causing foot drop and a high steppage gait pattern
Anterior tibialis tendonitis
Sciatica pain in your shin
If you have a problem with your anterior tibialis muscle, you may notice pain in your shin, ankle, or foot, or weakness may prevent your anterior tibialis from functioning properly.
A visit to your doctor or physical therapist is in order if you suspect anterior tibialis problems, especially those that cause a loss of functional mobility. Your doctor can determine if your shin pain is shin splints or some other problem.
Everything You Should Know About Shin Splints
A physical therapist may use various treatments to help improve the function and mobility of your anterior tibialis muscle. Typical treatments may include:
Anterior tibialis stretching
Strengthening exercises for your anterior tibialis
Massage to the muscle
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation to help improve neuromuscular recruitment of your muscle3
Your anterior tibialis muscle may also become weak if you suffer a sprained ankle or ankle fracture that requires a long period of immobilization.4
If you are having weakness, pain, or tightness in your lower leg or shin, you may benefit from a visit to your physician or physical therapist to assess your specific situation. A problem with your anterior tibialis muscle may be a contributing factor to your condition, and your PT can prescribe the correct treatment to help.