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Foot and Ankle Anatomy

 

 

In the slideshow to the right, the first image shows the inside of the ankle, labeling the deltoid ligament. The second image shows the outside of the ankle and the anterior and posterior talofibular ligament and the calcaneal fibular ligament, commonly torn in an ankle sprain. The next image shows the tendons on the top of the foot; the extensor halluces and digitorum longus and the extensor digitorum brevis. The next image shows the tendons on the bottom of the foot; the flexor halluces longus and brevis, flexor digitorum longus and posterior tibialis. The next three illustrations are the bones on the top and bottom of the foot. The final illustrations show the inside and out of the foot and the common areas of pain associated with common foot conditions. You'll also find these images below.  

The following images show the orientation of the foot and the common anatomical foot structures and common foot problems associated with these structures.

Foot anatomy image labeled

Anatomy of the lateral foot labeled

Anatomy of the anterior view Anatomy foot posterior view labeled
Medial Lateral Anterior Posterior

The inside (medial), outside (lateral) and front (anterior) and back of the foot (posterior) are shown in the image below. In the first view, titled medial view, the inside of the arch and ankle are shown. You can see the origin of the plantar fascia, which is a common area of heel pain. The great toe and the posterior tibial tendon are also shown. Pain at the inside of the arch can be due to posterior tibial tendonitis. The second view, titled lateral, shows the outside of the foot. The peroneal brevis tendon insertion is labeled and this is a common area of pain in peroneal tendonitis. Avulsion fractures of the base of the 5th metatarsal will have pain in this area as well. In the third view of the front of the foot, titled anterior, the common area of nerve impingement is labeled. The great toe is also labeled. The most common problem at the great toe is a bunion. Osteoarthritis is also common at the great toe joint, also known as the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint. The last image shows the back of the foot, also known as the posterior aspect and the Achilles tendon and it's insertion are labeled. The two areas labeled are the common areas of pain in Achilles tendonitis.

Foot Bones

Bones in the Foot: Top View

A labeled diagram of the bones in the foot is shown below.  This view is from the top of the foot.

Anatomy bones of the foot labeled A. distal phalanx of the hallux
B. proximal phalanx of the hallux 
C. distal phalanges
D. intermediate phalanges
E. proximal phalanges
F. 1st metatarsal
G. lesser metatarsals
H. medial cuneiform
I. intermediate cuneiform
J. lateral cuneiform
K. styloid process
L. cuboid
M.navicular
N. talus
O. calcaneus


Bones in the Foot: Bottom View

A labeled diagram of the bones in the foot is shown below. This view is from the bottom of the foot, a plantar view. Ligaments attaching to the bones are also shown, but not labeled in this diagram.

Foot anatomy bones plantar view labeled A. distal phalanx of the hallux
B. proximal phalanx of the hallux
C. distal phalanges
D. intermediate phalanges
E. proximal phalanges
F. 1st metatarsal
G. lesser metatarsals
H. medial cuneiform
I. intermediate cuneiform
J.  lateral cuneiform
K. styloid process
L. cuboid
M. navicular
N. talus
O. calcaneus
P. sesamoid

Common structural foot problems that develop at the metatarsal phalangeal joints include bunions and hammertoes.
 

Bones in the Foot: Side View Anatomy

This is a view of the foot looking at the foot from the side. The foot bones are labeled with pronunciation given. Note that there are two accessory bones labeled that do not occur in all feet, they are the os peroneum, that can occur on the outside of the cuboid and the os vesalianum which occurs at the base of the 5th metatarsal.

Foot anatomy, bones labeled lateral view

A. fibula
B. tibia
C. talus
D. navicular
E. cuneiforms
F. calcaneus
G. cuboid
H. os peroneum
I. os vesalianum
J. styloid process
K. 5th metatarsal
L. 5th metatarsal phalangeal joint
M. phalanges 

Tendons

Tendons on the Top of the Foot

A tendon is a structure that connects the muscle to the bone. It can be described as a cord or a band of connective tissue. The extensor hallucis longus originates in the front of the leg and travels down the ankle to attach on the big toe. The function is to pull up the big toe (extend) and pull up the ankle (dorsiflex). The extensor digitorum longus originates in the front of the legs, also travels across the ankle and inserts on all the toes. This tendon pulls the toes up (extend) and pulls up the ankle (dorsiflex).  The extensor digitorum brevis is a small muscle that originates on the top of the heel bone and extends out to the digits. The extensor digitorum brevis pulls the toes up (extends the toes). 

Image of tendons on the top of the foot

A. Extensor hallucis longus

 

B. Extensor digitorum longus

 

C. Extensor digitorum brevis

 

 

 

Tendons on the Bottom of the Foot

The image below shows the flexor hallucis longus, the flexor digitorum brevis, flexor digitorum longus and posterior tibial tendon. The flexor hallucis longus originates in the back of the leg, crosses the ankle and inserts on the base of the small bone in the big toe. It's action is to bend the big toe down (flex) and bend the ankle down (plantar flex). The flexor hallucis brevis is a small muscle that originates from the small bones on the bottom of the foot and inserts on the base of the big toe. It's action is to bend the big toe down (flex). The flexor digitorum longus originates in the back of the leg, crosses the ankle and inserts on the tips of the toes. It's action is to bend the toes down (flex) and bend the ankle down (plantar flex). The posterior tibialis originates in the back of the leg, cross the ankle and inserts on the navicular and on the bottom of the midfoot within the arch. The action of the posterior tibialis is to bend the ankle down (plantar flex) and to support the arch (supinate).

Image of tendons on the bottom of the foot, flexor tendons

A. Flexor hallucis longus

 

B. Flexor hallucis brevis

 

C. Flexor digitorum longus

 

D. Posterior tibialis

 

 

 

The most common foot condition associated with tendons is tendinitis, also referred to as tendinosis or tendinopathy. More information on tendonitis/tendinosis, posterior tibial tendonitis and phases of tendon healing

 

Plantar Fascia


The plantar fascia is a long ligament-type structure that supports the longitudinal arch when walking. There are three bands, the medial, central and lateral band as shown in the image to the right. The fascia originates on the heel bone, called the calcaneus, and extends to insert into the bottom of the toes. 
The plantar fascia is one of the main structures that supports the arch. In those with faulty foot mechanics, most commonly over pronation, the plantar fascia can become over stressed, stretched and torn, leading to inflammation, pain and eventual degeneration in a condition known as plantar fasciitis.

Anatomy of the plantar fascia showing all three bands

 

 

Big Toe Joint

The big toe joint is called the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint, or the 1st MPJ. The hallux consists of the distal phalanx and proximal phalanx and is essentially the big toe. The lateral collateral and sesamoid ligaments help to stabilize the joint. The sesamoid are small bones under the great toe. More information on the Great Toe Joint Anatomy. 

Great  toe joint anatomy image with ligaments and bones labeled

 

Toenail Anatomy

Anatomy  of a toenail lateral view

 The main function of the toenail is to provide protection to toes. The nail unit, shown to the right, is composed of the nail plate, nail fold, lunula, cuticle and hyponychium.  

The nail plate is known to most as simply the “nail”. The nail plate is composed of a translucent protein called keratin. The nail plate is porous to water and the water content is directly related to it’s brittleness or hardness.  It does not contain any blood vessels or nerves.

The matrix is the nail root and the sole structure responsible for the formation and growth of the nail plate. The nail root sits beneath the proximal nail fold.

The cuticle is also known as the eponychium, is formed from cells from the proximal nail fold, the cuticle attaches to the nail plate acting as a natural seal to protect the proximal nail fold from microbial invasion. 


Nail anatomy closeup viewThe lunula a crescent-shaped white zone at the base of the nail which represents the furthest  extension of the nail root.

The nail bed extends from the lunula to the hyponychium and supports the nail plate in it’s contour, but it does not assist with the growth of the nail plate.

More information and images on toenail anatomy.

 

Anatomy Orientation

To better understand the orientation of the foot, take a look at the images of the top of the foot, the bottom of the foot, the front and back of the foot. The first set of images show the top, bottom, front and back of the foot; also known as dorsal, plantar, anterior and posterior. 

 

Dorsal view of foot anatomy

Plantar view of the anatomy of the foot

Anterior view of the anatomy of the foot Posterior view of the anatomy of the foot and ankle.
Dorsal Plantar Anterior Posterior

 

 

Dorsal refers to the top of the foot. Plantar refers to the bottom of the foot

 

Anterior refers to the front of the body. Posterior refers to the back of the body

 

The diagram below shows the orientation in relationship to the center line of the body. This terminology includes distal, proximal, medial and lateral.

 

Foot anatomy orientation, distal, proximal, medial and lateral

Distal means further from the body 
 
Proximal means closer to the body
 
Medial means towards the center line of the body 
 
Lateral means away from the center line of the body

 

 

More Foot Anatomy Information, Images and Diagrams

  • Bones in the Foot: more details and images on the bones in the foot.
  • Tendons and Ligaments: information on foot and ankle tendons and ligaments including the extensor tendons, the flexor tendons and the ligaments of the ankle.
  • Great Toe Joint: diagrams of the structures of the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint, known as the big toe joint or the great toe joint.
  • Toenail Anatomy: Diagrams, illustrations and descriptions of the toenail.
  • Biomechanics: information on foot function and the mechanics of the foot. Definitions for dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, eversion, supination and pronation.
  • Terminology/medical dictionary: definitions of medical terms and structures relating to the foot and ankle.



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last updated 04/25/15

 

Copyright: Most of the images on this page are copyright Primal Pictures and are not the property of Northcoast Footcare, Inc.

Disclaimer: The advice on this website is not intended to substitute for a visit to your health care provider. We will not be held liable for any diagnosis made or treatment recommended. Consult your doctor if you feel you have a medical problem