Tibialis anterior muscle

Last revised by Reabal Najjar on 27 Dec 2022

The tibialis anterior muscle is a long narrow fusiform-shaped muscle located in the anterior compartment of the leg. It is the most superficial and largest muscle of the group and is the main foot dorsiflexor.

  • origin: superior two thirds of the lateral surface of tibia and adjacent interosseous membrane 

  • insertion: inferomedial aspect of medial cuneiform and base of first metatarsal

  • action:

    • dorsiflexion of foot at ankle

    • inversion of the foot (at subtalar and midtarsal joints)

    • helps to hold up medial longitudinal arch of foot 

  • blood supply: branches of the anterior tibial and fibular arteries

  • innervation: deep peroneal nerve  (L4 - S1)

The tibialis anterior lies medial to the extensor digitorum longus and extensor hallucis longus. The muscle ​pierces the superior extensor retinacula but travels deep to the inferior retinacula which holds it in place.

The tibialis anterior muscle originates from the lateral condyle and upper two-thirds of the lateral surface of the tibia. Additionally, it arises from the interosseous membrane of the leg, deep surface of the fascia cruris and the anterior intermuscular septum.

The tibialis anterior inserts on the medial cuneiform bone and base of the first metatarsal bone.

The tibialis anterior muscle provides dorsiflexion at the talocrural (ankle) joint and inversion of the foot at the subtalar and midtarsal (Chopart's) joints. It also plays a role in supporting the medial longitudinal arch of the foot.

The tibialis anterior is innervated by the deep peroneal (fibular) nerve (L4 - S1), a branch of the common peroneal nerve.

The muscle receives arterial blood supply primarily from the branches of the anterior tibial artery in addition to branches of the posterior tibial artery.

Os sesamoideum tibialis anterioris is an accessory sesamoid bone that arises during embryonic development which is sometimes incorrectly misdiagnosed as a fracture 4.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: leg muscles: surface anatomy (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 2: Anterior leg muscles (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 3: Tibialis anterior muscle (illustration)
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  • Figure 4: foot muscle insertion - anterior (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 5: foot muscle insertions - lateral (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 6: lower leg axial cross section (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 7: anterior tibial and fibular arteries (Gray's illustration)
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