The muscle originates in the anterior compartment of the leg and it’s tendon crosses the ankle anteriorly, passing under the inferior extensor retinaculum, where it then fans out and ultimately inserts on the middle and distal phalanges of each lesser toe. The extensor digitorum longus can be observed passing anteriorly over the ankle lateral to the tibialis anterior tendon and extensor hallucis longus tendon and as it fans out over the dorsum of the foot. The extensor digitorum longus tendon can be seen more prominently when the patient actively extends their lesser toes.


Pain over the dorsum of the foot around the extensor digitorum longus tendon may be due to tenosynovitis due to tight footwear.

The extensor digitorum longus may be lacerated in a trauma involving the dorsum of the foot.