An Anatomical Study Of The Musculus Flexor Digitorum Brevis

  • Humberto Ferreira Arquez Colombian Association Morphology.


Background: The present study documents valuable new data on the anatomical variations of the musculus flexor digitorum brevis in an adult Colombian population, this muscle and in particular its fourth slip, has a significant clinical and surgical importance. The fourth slip is undergoing a phylogenetic degeneration. The purpose of this study is to conduct an evidenced on the prevalence of the musculus flexor digitorum brevis and its variants in humans.

Methods and Findings: A total of 17 cadavers with different age groups were used for this study, 34 feet of 15 male and 2 females embalmed adults cadavers in the laboratory of Morphology of the University of Pamplona. All feet (n= 34) were studied serially during the years 2013-2016. Of the 34 feet examined, in 32 (94.12%) the muscle conformed to the classical descriptions given in anatomical textbooks showed 4 bellies. In the remaining 2 feet (5.88%) the muscle divided into three parts which ended in slender tendons to the second, third and fourth toes.

Conclusions: The knowledge of the anatomical variations in relation to the demographic characteristics of patients would be of importance for diagnostic imaging and foot surgery.

Author Biography

Humberto Ferreira Arquez, Colombian Association Morphology.
Professor Human Morphology, Medicine Program, University of Pamplona   Morphology Laboratory Coordinator- University of Pamplona


1. Thangarajan R, Bakthavatchalam P, Potu BK, Thomas HR. Anatomical variation of the flexor digitorum brevis muscle revisited: a case report from South Indian population. IJAV. 2010; 3:211-3. Available from:
2. Rosse C, Gaddum-Rosse P. Hollinshead’s Textbook of Anatomy. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott- Raven 1997. Available from:
3. Williams PL, Warwick R, Dyson M, Bannister LH. Gray’s Anatomy. 37th ed. New York: ELBS- Churchill Livingstone 1989.
4. Bergman RA, Thompson SA, Afifi AK, Saadeh FA. Compendium of Human Anatomic Variations. Baltimore: Urban and Schwarzenberg 1988.
5. Lobo SW, Menezes RG, Mamata S, Baral P, Hunnargi SA, Kanchan T, Bodhe AV, Bhat NB. Phylogenetic variation in flexor digitorum brevis: a Nepalese cadaveric study. Nepal Med Coll J. 2008; 10: 230-2.Available from:
6. Ilayperuma I. On the variations of the muscle flexor digitorum brevis: anatomical insight. Int. J. Morphol. 2012; 30:337-40. Available from:
7. Nathan H, Globe H. Flexor digitorum brevis – anatomical variations. Anat. Anz. 1974; 135:295-301. Available from:
8. Chaney DM, Lee MS, Khan MA, Krueger WA, Mandracchia VJ, Yoho RM. Study of ten anatomical variants of the foot and ankle. J. Am. Podiatr. Med. Assoc. 1996; 86:532-7. Available from:
9. Claassen H, Wree A. Isolated flexor muscles of the little toe in the feet of an individual with atrophied or lacking 4th head of the M. extensor digitorum brevis and lacking the 4th tendon of the M. extensor digitorum longus. Ann. Anat. 2003; 185:81-4. Available from:
10. Yalçin B, Ozan H. Some variations of the musculus flexor digitorum brevis. Anat. Sci. Int. 2005; 80:189-92. Available from: Fj.1447-073X.
11. Becerro de Bengoa Vallejo R, Viejo Tirado F, Prados Frutos JC, Losa Iglesias ME, Jules KT. Transfer of the flexor digitorum brevis tendon. J. Am. Podiatr. Med. Assoc. 2008; 98:27–35. Available from:
12. Tokioka K., Nakatsuka T, Tsuji S., Ishida K., Obana K., Osawa K. Surgical cor-rection for curly toe using open tenotomy of flexor digitorum brevis tendon. J. Plast. Reconstr. Aesthet. Surg. 2007; 60: 1317-22. Available from:
13. Lee LC, Charlton TP, Thordarson DB. Flexor digitorum brevis transfer for floating toe prevention after weil osteotomy: a cadaveric study. Foot Ankle Int. 2013; 34: 1724-8. Available from:
14. Rasmussen A, Bjerre-Christensen U, Almdal TP, Holstein P. Percutaneous flexor tenotomy for preventing and treating toe ulcers in people with diabetes mellitus. J. Tissue Viability. 2003; 22: 68-73. Available from:
15. Errichiello C, Marcarelli M, Pisani PC, Parino E. Treatment of dynamic claw toe deformity flexor digitorum brevis tendon transfer to interosseous and lumbri¬cal muscles: a literature survey. Foot Ankle Surg. 2012; 18: 229-32. Available from:
16. Becerro de Bengoa Vallejo R, Losa Iglesias ME, Frutos JC, Rodriguez MF, Jules KT. Dorsal approach to transfer of the flexor digitorum brevis tendon. J. Am. Podiatr. Med. Assoc. 2011; 101: 297-306. Available from:
17. Attinger CE, Ducic I, Cooper P, Zelen CM. The role of intrinsic muscle flaps of the foot for bone coverage in foot and ankle defects in diabetic and non dia¬betic patients. Plast. Reconstr. Surg 2002; 110: 1047-54; discussion 1055-7. Available from articleviewer.aspx?year=2002&issue=09150&arti
18. Yammine K. The fourth slip of the flexor digitorum brevis muscle of the human foot. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ital J Anat Embryol 2015;120: 59-70. Available from:
19. Hartrampf CR Jr, Scheflan M, Bostwick J. 3rd. The flexor digitorum brevis muscle island pedicle flap: a new dimension in heel reconstruction. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 1980; 66:264-70. Available from: Digitorum_Brevis_Muscle_Island_Pedicle.16.aspx
20. Ikuta Y, Murakami T, Yoshioka K, Tsuge K. Reconstruction of the heel pad by flexor digitorum brevis musculocutaneous flap transfer. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 1984; 74:86-96. Available from:
21. Lin SD, Chou CK, Yang C, Lai CS. Reconstruction of plantar heel defect using reinnervated, skin-grafted flexor digitorum brevis flap. Br. J. Plastic. Surg. 1991: 44:109-12. Available from:
22. Stevenson TR, Kling TF Jr, Friedman, RJ. Heel reconstruction with flexor digitorum brevis musculocutaneous flap. J. Pediatr. Orthop. 1985; 5:713-6. Available from:
23. Sakai N, Yoshida T, Okumura H. Distal plantar area reconstruction using a flexor digitorum brevis muscle flap with reverse-flow lateral plantar artery. Br. J. Plast. Surg 2001; 54: 170-3. Available from:
How to Cite
FERREIRA ARQUEZ, Humberto. An Anatomical Study Of The Musculus Flexor Digitorum Brevis. International Archives of Medicine, [S.l.], v. 10, july 2017. ISSN 1755-7682. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 mar. 2018. doi:
Human Anatomy