Basic Anatomy


The foot is made up of 28 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 tarsal bones make up the heel and back of the instep.
  • The talus is the ankle bone and is 90% covered by cartilage and has no tendon attachments.
  • The calcaneus is the heel bone. It is the largest tarsal bone and the Achilles tendon attaches to the back of the heel.
  • Five metatarsal bones make up the forward part of the arch. The heads 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.
  • Ligaments cross joints and control direction of joint motion.