Chickens' insteps

Posted by RRC on May 20, 2007

In Reply to: Chickens' insteps posted by R. Berg on May 20, 2007

: : I know that people refer to small/non-existent muscles as "chickens' insteps", but where did this expression originate? How can a muscle look like the inner part of a chicken's foot?

: Chickens must control their feet by using small muscles. However, don't assume that the expression has a visual origin. Maybe it isn't based on the look of anything. It's likely similar in origin to "as scarce as hens' teeth." ~rb

Hmm, a massive 2 Google hits on this phrase, one of which says "She's as tense as a chicken's instep". The other says "arms no stronger than a chicken's instep".
I guess you'd have to ask an avian anatomist for the technical term, but I don't think birds have an instep. It's the arched part of the foot and I think birds have flat feet and a toe on the side to boot.