To really understand an injury in your foot, you have to understand just how complex the foot is. The foot is a marvel of design that does far more than we give it credit for. It is able to take our whole weight and even allow us to jump, climb, balance and run, all with seemingly no effort at all. This is because the foot was crafted over millions of years of evolution and the muscles making up the foot are perfectly crafted to help us do everything we need to do to survive.
In total, there are 20 muscles in the foot, these muscles give our feet their shape. Now, although the foot isn’t the prettiest body part, the shape is very important to their function. The muscles hold the bones in place and then compact and expand to allow us to move in the ways that we do. We won’t go into every muscle of the foot here, but we will tell you about the main muscles and what they do to help us.
The information below might allow you to identify the muscles that are causing you discomfort or pain, but we urge you to see a specialist about this pain as not getting the right treatment, could result in an ongoing condition in your feet or another area of your body like your back or knees.
The main muscles in your feet are:
- The Posterior Tibial: This muscle supports the arch of your foot.
- The Anterior Tibial: This allows your foot to move forward when walking or doing other activities.
- The Peroneal Tibial: This one controls the movement on the outside of your ankle.
- The Flexors: These help the toes to stabilise against the ground.
- The Extensors: These ones help your ankle to raise the toes to begin the act of stepping forward.
- Finally, smaller muscles enable your toes to lift and curl.
These muscles all do important jobs but they would be completely useless if they didn’t have tendons. Tendons are what connect the muscles to the joints and bones, they are an elastic tissue which allows them to flex and move as and when we need them to. The biggest and strongest tendon in the foot is the Achilles’ tendon, this extends from the calf to the heel, although it isn’t technically part of the foot, it allows us to walk up stairs, jump, run and a lot more.
Once again, tendons would be pretty useless if it wasn’t for ligaments. Ligaments hold the tendons in place and stabilise the joints even further. The longest ligament in your foot is the plantar fascia, this runs along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes and helps form your arch.
Each one of the things mentioned above, as well as; blood vessels, nerves and skin, make up the shape of your foot and gives it its durability. With so much going on in our feet, it isn’t hard to see why many of us will, at some point in our lives, be affected by a condition in our feet.