ankle and feet

Structure of the Foot and Ankles


We never pay proper attention to our feet and ankles while they are the most important part of our body. They let us stand straight, keep balance, allow us to walk, run, kick and jump. If we take a look at the anatomy of the foot and ankles then we might realize that it is quite complicated to understand. The foot is made up of 33 bones, 26 joints, more than a 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. All of it together helps us to move, stand and do many more activities. It is necessary to have strong and stable to maintain flexibility and allow the body to perform complex movements.

The Bone Structure

The anatomy of the foot and ankles starts with the bones. The bones are divided into three different sections, known as hind-foot, mid-foot and the fore-foot.

1. Hind-foot

The hind-foot is formed by the ankle joint which lies at the lower most part of the leg. The tail of fibula and tibia also lies on the ankle bone. This part is also known as Talus. The heel bone is also a part of this section and it is known as calcaneus.

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2. Mid-foot

The mid-foot comprises 5 bones and forms the foot arches. These bones are the shock absorbers of the feet and are formed in a pyramid structure. The bones forming the pyramid structure are known as cuboid, navicular and 3 cuneiform bones.

3. Fore-foot

The fore-foot is a structure of 19 bones. A set of 14 bones are required to make the toes. These bones are known as phalanges. The rest of the 5 bones connect the toes to the mid-foot. These 5 bones are known as metatarsals.

There are a number of issues or problems which affect the foot and ankle bone structure. Some of the common problems affecting the bone structure are turf toe, bunions, hammer toe and mallet toe, bone spurs, etc. These conditions are curable but only when detected in the right stage and given the required medication.

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The Muscle Structure

After the bone structure, there are the muscles of the foot and ankles. There are basically two sets of muscles of the foot and ankles. These muscles are known as intrinsic and extrinsic. These two sets or groups have 20 plus muscles present in them.

  • Intrinsic Muscles – These muscles develop in the foot and ankle area only. They are either on the dorsum part of the foot or in the plantar part of the foot. The dorsum is the upper part of the foot while the planter is the base or lower part of the foot.
  • Extrinsic Muscles – These muscles form in the front part of the foot or in the back part of the foot. They are found in the lower leg area. They act as a bonding in-between the lower leg and the foot. The calf muscles, soleus and gastrocnemius are some of the example of extrinsic muscles.

The muscle movement works in contraction and relaxing which allows the body to do certain activities. There are different layers of the muscles and they are responsible for the maintenance of shape of the body. The muscles are joined to the foot bones with the help of tendons. There are certain problems or conditions which can harm the muscle structure of the foot and ankles. One common problem affecting the muscle structure is tendonitis. It is a condition where the tendons degenerate and inflammation occurs. It is a curable condition. Advanced Foot & Ankle Institute can help in resolving such issues related to foot and ankles.


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