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Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, LLC
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Anatomy of the Feet

The feet offer an interesting paradox between importance and neglect. They are the literal foundation of the body with a complicated system of bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and muscles. However, they are often ignored, even when they are causing pain. Shoes may hide their neglect, but if you have experienced discomfort in your feet and ankles, you know that every daily activity is impacted. Moving, balancing, and supporting the body—the feet must be in good working order.

If the number of bones that make up the feet are any indication of importance, they do not get the recognition that they deserve. Each foot has 26 bones—that’s almost 25% of the body’s total. The bones that make up the foot include the:

Ankle bone (talus)

This bone, along with the lower leg bones, meet at the joint of the ankle forming the stable structure referred to as a mortise and tenon.

Heel bone (calcaneus)—

This bone is connected by a joint to the ankle bone.

Tarsal bones

These are five, multi-jointed bones that work in unison forming either a rigid configuration, or one that can match the form of whatever the foot touches.


Connected to the tarsal bones, these five bones are the longest in the foot.

Toe bones (phalanges)—

The bones of the toes are extremely important for forward motion.

Thirty-three joints connect the bones of the feet including the subtalar and MTP joints.

Keep your feet functioning properlyWhat tendons and ligaments are found in the feet?

The foot and ankle have over one hundred ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Tissue that connects a bone to another bone is called a ligament. Though both ligaments and tendons are connectors, tendons link muscles with bones. Made of collagen that looks like a rope, they vary by size and breadth which determines their strength.

The Achilles tendon is the most well-known and the largest tendon in size. It connects the heel bone and the muscles of the calf. The ability to run, walk, and jump is dependent on this tendon. The posterior tibial tendon assists in arch support and allows for turning the foot to the inside. The anterior tibial tendon allows the foot to be raised. The toes and the ankle also have tendons.

The majority of the muscles in the feet make up the sole. They form a pad and help in the movement of the toes. Other muscles help with the function of the toes.

What are other important parts of the feet?

If you have ever stuck your foot in hot water or stepped on a sharp object, you won’t be surprised that there are a large number of nerve endings on the soles of the feet. The tibial nerve is one of the primary ones. Blood vessels are also present, and most of the blood that goes to the feet is brought by the posterior tibial artery.

Photo Credit: Alexis via Pixabay.com

The feet are complex mechanisms. If one part isn’t functioning well, the whole foot, in fact, the whole body will be out of alignment. Taking care of your feet with foot care, regular podiatric exams, and proper footwear will keep you on your feet and enjoying life. Don’t delay--call the office of Podiatrist Evan Merrill for an appointment, or schedule online.