Foot Anatomy

Foot & Ankle Information Sites:

FootPhysicians.com: An excellent web site run by the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons for patients. There are pod casts on various foot problems as well as other useful information. Dr. Mary Crawford was the first female president of this organization in March 2009.

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The foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and numerous tendons. Complex biomechanics keep all these parts in the right position and moving together. Given these intricacies, it is not surprising that most people will experience some problem with their feet at some time in their lives.

Within each foot, the essential structure can be summed up as follows:

  • Seven short tarsal bones make up the heel and back of the instep.
  • Five metatarsal bones spread from the back of the foot toward front and make up the structure for the ball of the foot. Each metatarsal is associated with one of the toes.
  • Fourteen phalanges, small bones, form the toe structure.
  • Tarsal and metatarsal bones provide the structure for the arch of the foot.
  • Bands of ligaments connect and hold all the bones in place.
  • A thick layer of fatty tissue under the sole helps absorb the pressure and shock that comes from walking and everyday movements.