Tibialis Anterior

Original Editor - Daniele Barilla

Top Contributors - Daniele Barilla, Ahmed Nasr, George Prudden, Kim Jackson and Evan Thomas;

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The Tibialis anterior (Tibialis anticus) is situated on the lateral side of the tibia; it is thick and fleshy above, tendinous below. The fibers run vertically downward, and end in a tendon, which is apparent on the anterior surface of the muscle at the lower third of the leg. This muscle overlaps the anterior tibial vessels and deep peroneal nerve in the upper part of the leg.

Variations.—A deep portion of the muscle is rarely inserted into the talus, or a tendinous slip may pass to the head of the first metatarsal bone or the base of the first phalanx of the great toe. The Tibiofascialis anterior, a small muscle from the lower part of the tibia to the transverse or cruciate crural ligaments or deep fascia.[1]


It arises from[1]:

  • Lateral condyle and upper half or two-thirds of the lateral surface of the body of the tibia
  • Adjoining part of the interosseous membrane
  • Deep surface of the fascia
  • Intermuscular septum between it and the Extensor digitorum longus.


Medial and under surface of the first cuneiform bone, and the base of the first metatarsal bone.[1]


Deep Pereonal Nerve (L4, L5, S1)[1]


Anterior Tibial Artery[1]


  • Tibialis anterior is the primary dorsiflexor of the ankle with synergistic action of extensor hallicus longus, extensor digitorium longus and peroneous tertius.
  • Inversion of the foot.
  • Adduction of the foot.
  • Contributor of maintaining the medial arch of the foot.[2]
  • At anticipatory postural adjustment (APA) phase during gait initiation tibialis anterior favour knee flexion at the stance limb by causing forward displacement of tibia.[3]
  • Eccentric deceleration of foot plantarflexion, eversion and foot pronation.

Integrated Anatomy

Tibialis anterior is one of the muscles that tend to be inhibited and underactive[4] this leads to overactive of synergistic muscles; extensor hallicus longus, extensor digitorium longus and peroneous tertius.

People with an inhibited or weak Tibialis anterior, for example those with hemiplegia or parkinson's, will have an abnormality in their anticipatory postural adjustment (APA) phase during gait initiation of the affected limb. They will try to compensate for the weakness of Tibialis anterior by overactivity of the contralateral tensor fascia latae (TFL)[3]


Clinical Relevance

Pain along the path of this muscle is often referred to as "Shin splints". Also called medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS)



The client is supine. Place your resistance hand on the medial side of the distal foot.

Resist the client from dorsiflexing and inverting the foot. Look the distal tendon of the tibialis anterior on the medial side of the ankle joint and foot; it is usually visible.

Palpate the distal tendon by strumming perpendicular across it. Continue palpating the tibialis anterior proximally to lateral tibial condyle by strumming perpendicular to the fibers.

Once the tibialis anterior has been located, have the client relax it and palpate to asses its baseline tone.[5]


The action of the tibialis anterior muscle is considerably stronger than that of the other three dorsiflexor muscles of the foot.[6]






Dry Needling


See also

Shin Splints
Ankle and Foot


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Drake R, Vogl W, Mitchell AWM 2004 Gray’s Anatomy for Students. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
  2. Pasqualino A., Panattoni G.L. 2002 Anatomia Umana. Utet
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jean LH, Marco S, Oscar C , Manh CD. The Neuro-Mechanical Processes That Underlie Goal-Directed Medio-Lateral APA during Gait Initiation. Frontiers Human Neuroscience. August 2016
  4. Advantage strength. Therapy Thursday: You’ve been crossed over. Available from: http://advantagestrength.com/therapy-thursday-youve-been-crossed-over/ (24JULY 2019)
  5. Joseph E. Muscolino, 2011 Know the Body: Muscle, Bone, and Palpation Essentials. Mosby 1st Edition
  6. Pirola V. 2004 Cinesiologia. Edi-Ermes
  7. eHowFitness. Tibialis Anterior Exercises With Resistance Bands: Spice Up Your Workout Routine. Available from: https://youtu.be/dG0uWjEviCs
  8. Jason Craig. Tibialis Anterior Stretching. Available from: https://youtu.be/RgQOjtm9POw
  9. Tim Trevail. Dry Needling: Tibialis Anterior. Available from: https://youtu.be/RmPU0pT8I0g