The foot

Tarsals

There are seven bones in the foot, which collectively are called the tarsals.

Each tarsal is an irregular bone that slides minutely over the next bone to collectively provide motion. The individual tarsals are as follows:

• Talus - the talus bone is the main tarsal. It articulates with the tibia and fibula to form the ankle joint. The talus is significant in that it bears the weight of the entire body when standing or walking.

• Calcaneum — the calcaneum is also known as the heel bone. It is the largest and most posterior tarsal bone. The calcaneum is an important site for attachment of muscles of the calf.

• Cuboid — the cuboid is situated between the fourth and fifth metatarsals and the calcanuem on the lateral (outer) border of the foot.

• Cuneiform — there are three cuneiform bones which are located between the navicular bone and the first three metatarsal bones. They are numbered medially to laterally from I through to III (the most medial being I, the middle being II and the most lateral being III).

• Navicular — the navicular bone is situated between the talus bone and the three cuneiforms.

• Metatarsals — there are five metatarsals forming the dorsal surface of the foot.

• Phalanges — 14 phalanges form the toes, two of which are in the hallux or big toe and three to each of the other digits.

Arches of the foot

The bones of the feet form arches which are designed to support body weight and to provide leverage when walking. The arches of the foot are maintained by ligaments and muscles. They give the foot resilience in bearing the body's weight when running or walking. The arches of the foot are the:

m m m medial longitudinal arch - this runs along the medial side of the foot from the calcaneum bone to the end of the metatarsals lateral longitudinal arch - this runs along the lateral side of the foot from the calcaneum bone to the end of the metatarsals transverse arch - this runs between the medial and lateral aspect of the foot and is formed by the navicular, three cuneiforms and the bases of the five metatarsals.

Talus

Talus

Metatarsals

Calcaneum Lateral Medial longitudinal longitudinal arch arch

Transverse arch

Metatarsals

Calcaneum Lateral Medial longitudinal longitudinal arch arch

Transverse arch

Fig 3.11 Arches of the feet

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