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Anatomical Characteristics of the Flexor Digitorum Accessorius Longus Muscle and Their Relevance to Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

A Systematic Review

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  • 1 Foot and Ankle Institute, Clinique du Parc Léopold, Brussels, Belgium.
  • | 2 Division of Podiatry, Institut D'Enseignement Supérieur Parnasse-Isei, Brussels, Belgium.
  • | 3 Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, England.
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Background

Clinical and cadaver studies have reported that supernumerary muscles could be the etiology of a variety of pathologic disorders, such as posterior impingement syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS), and flexor hallucis longus tenosynovitis. We describe a unique variant of the flexor digitorum accessorius longus (FDAL) muscle as an apparent cause of TTS, functioning as an independent flexor of the second toe, which has not been described in the literature. In addition to this case report, a systematic review was performed of TTS caused by the FDAL muscle.

Methods

A targeted search of PubMed, the Cochrane Library, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Web of Science identified full-text papers that fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Results

Twenty-nine papers were identified for inclusion in the systematic review: 12 clinical papers of TTS caused by the FDAL muscle and 17 cadaver-based papers.

Conclusions

Clinicians often do not include the FDAL muscle in the differential diagnosis of TTS. This literature review suggests that the FDAL is an important muscle in terms of its functional and clinical significance. Knowledge of this muscle, its anatomical location and variations, and its magnetic resonance imaging characteristics may help clinicians make an accurate differential diagnosis.

Corresponding author: Paul-André Deleu, MSc Pod, Foot and Ankle Institute, Clinique du Parc Léopold, Rue Froissart 38, 1040 Brussels, Belgium. (E-mail: pa.deleu@footandankleinstitute.be)