Dong Il Chun , MD a , Hong Seop Lee , MD b , Sung Hun Won , MD a , Sang Il Moon , MD c , Ki Jin Jung , MD c , Jong Hyun Seo , MD a , Hyung Ki Cho , MD a , Dhong Won Lee , MD d , Aeli Ryu , MD e , Yudha Manggala , MD f , Woo Jong Kim , MD, PhD c , ∗
16 December 2019
Acute rupture of the flexor halluces longus (FHL) tendon due to trauma or laceration is a well-known phenomenon. Partial rupture of the FHL tendon caused by tendinitis or stenosing tenosynovitis is common in ballet dancers and athletes. However, atraumatic complete rupture of the FHL is rare: as of 2018, only 7 cases of closed atraumatic complete rupture of the FHL tendon have been reported in the literature. Here, we report on a patient who presented with a closed atraumatic complete rupture of the FHL tendon during a forward lunge exercise.
A 35-year-old female visited the clinic with pain in the plantar medial aspect of the left foot, along with weakness and loss of great toe flexion. The patient had a normal foot structure and no history of trauma or systemic disease. She performed a forward lunge exercise more than 50 times on 1 leg per day, more than once a week to strengthen her leg muscles. She reported that she felt a slight pain in her left, great toe while exercising for 3 weeks prior to her visit. One week prior to presentation, severe pain occurred suddenly when her left hallux dorsiflexed strongly during an anterior lunge exercise motion.
Magnetic resonance imaging revealed complete rupture of the FHL tendon near the level of the metatarsal head and neck junction. The lesion was prolonged, with the proximal end displaced to the metatarsal shaft region.
At the 1-year follow-up, active plantar flexion of the interphalangeal joint was possible but joint function had a range of 0° to 25°. Flexion strength was reduced slightly, measuring about 70% when compared to the contralateral side, but flexion strength of the metatarsophalangeal joint was normal.
We describe an extremely rare case of complete rupture of the FHL tendon at the level of metatarsal head and neck junction. It should be understood that this injury can occur not only in professional athletes but also in the general public, and we recommend educating personal trainers on how to prevent it.