26 bones in 3 basic groups create what is commonly called the foot. The tarsus, metatarsus, and phalanges are all encompassed within the framework of the foot, mildly resembling the framework for the hand. Despite their similarities, the bones within the foot vary to indicate their ability to take the full weight of the human body. Of course they also need to be equipped to provide leverage and mobility in order for the human body to walk upright.


The most superior of the 7 tarsal bones is the talus, which is primarily responsible for the conjuncture with the tibia and fibula to create the ankle joint. The largest of all the tarsal bones is called the calcaneus, which creates the structure for the hell of the foot. With its large posterior extension the calcaneus relies on its tuberosity for the as an appropriate attachment point for the calf muscle. Just before the talus there lies the navicular bone, a block shaped bone assisting in the structural design. There are then 4 tarsal bones remaining. These form a particular distal series which conjoin with the metatarsal bones. Naming from the medial side, these are the medial, intermediate, and lateral cuneiform bones along with the cuboid bone.


Image: Pes


The metatarsal bones are quite similar to the hand’s metacarpal bones. However, due to the structural differences to provide for their individual uses, they can not be considered interchangeable. Numbered 1 through 5 from the medial side, the metatarsal bones decline in size from the big toe to the little toe.

The first metatarsal bone is considerably larger simply because it bears more weight than the rest. A head, body, and base make up the structure of each metatarsal bone. The first through third metatarsal bones conjoin with the cuneiform bones. Each metatarsal has a head that conjoins distally with the proximal phalanges. Tarso-metatarsal joints are the proximal joints and the metatarsalphalangeal joints are those positioned distally. The initial 2 metarsal bones create the ball of the foot.


The 14 phalanges are made up of a proximal row, middle row, and distal row of bones quite similar to the hand. The differences in size and shape are determined by their primary use. The skeletal elements of the toes begin with the great toe, the prime weight bearing and balance orienting toe. This toe is limited to the proximal and distal bones and is often referred to as the hallux.
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