Feet, ankles, and the lower legs play essential roles in supporting the human body and enabling mobility. While performing these vital responsibilities, these body parts face tremendous amounts of physical force. In order to both endure the stress and perform intended duties, your limbs are remarkably structured. Of course, the intricate foot and ankle structure means there are a host of medical issues that can develop.
No matter which area of your foot or ankle is experiencing pain or difficulty, you can always find the care you need here at A Step Up Podiatry, LLC.
Forefoot and Toes
The toes are composed of phalangeal bones, of which there are 14 total. Each toe has 3 bones, except for the big toe (which has 2). This is actually the same bone structure as is found in the fingers and thumb. Besides location, a major difference between the bones found in the fingers and the toes is that toe bones are much shorter in length.
For the four smaller toes, the three bones are the proximal phalanges, middle phalanges, and distal phalanges. The proximal phalanges are the closest to the base of the foot, with the distal ones being furthest.
The toe bones connect to the foot in joints known as metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints. These joints derive their name from both the phalange and metatarsal bones. The metatarsal bones are the long, thin ones that bridge the fore- and midfoot regions.
There are two sesamoid bones, which are small and pea-shaped, found under the head of the first metatarsal bone. They act like pulleys to help the big toe bend up and down at the MTP joint.
The midfoot starts with the proximal ends of the metatarsal bones and includes the cuboid, navicular, and the three cuneiform bones. This region provides the structure for the foot arch. The foot arch is instrumental in allowing the foot to pronate during the gait cycle and providing an equitable distribution of forces.
Along the top of the midfoot is the Lisfranc joint complex. This complex consists of the five metatarsal bones and the tarsal bones, and is held together by the Lisfranc ligament.
Hindfoot and Ankle
The anchor and centerpiece of the hindfoot is the calcaneus (heel bone). This is the largest bone in the foot and provides the basis for stability. There is a thick layer of fatty tissue under the sole to help absorb the shock that comes from walking. The calcaneus connects to the cuboid bones and the talus.
Running along the bottom of the foot, the plantar fascia connects the heel bone to the toes and acts like a bowstring to help support the arch. This fibrous tissue provides essential shock-absorbing responsibilities for the foot.
The ankle is commonly thought of as a single joint, but there are actually two different ones – the subtalar joint and the “true” ankle joint. Basically one is found underneath the talus (the subtalar joint) and the other (the true ankle joint) is above it.
The subtalar joint is formed where the talus connects the calcaneus and it is responsible for allowing the foot to move laterally (side-to-side). The true ankle joint is the one that most people think of when they consider the ankle. It is formed by the talus and the two lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) and enables vertical (up-and-down) movement of the foot.
Comprehensive Foot Care Services in Manalapan, NJ
Now that you are familiar with the anatomical features of the foot and ankle, you can have a better understanding of why we use the treatments we do to care for the issues that affect you. Hopefully this will also allow you to see how certain issue arise and why they developed in the first place.
Remember, foot pain is not “normal” or something that can be ignored. Instead, it is a sign that your body needs help. The foot and ankle services we provide here at A Step Up Podiatry, LLC will correct issues and provide relief from painful symptoms. Call us today at (732) 446-7136 for more information on how we can help you, or schedule an appointment today via our online form.