The human foot is a complex mechanical structure designed for strength. It needs this strength to help us walk, run and jump all while being our very own shock absorber. The foot can withstand a tremendous amount of pressure (results suggest this pressure can amount to a couple of tonnes over the course of a one-mile run). It can withstand all of that pressure and yet still be flexible and resilient.

Today, we’re going to explore the parts of the foot and discuss which area does what. This article will hopefully help you see that a lot is going on in the foot and there’s a lot of issues that can occur. This is why it’s crucial to see a podiatrist if you have an issue with your foot, as they can identify the area of concern and start treating the issue quickly.

Anatomy of the foot

The foot contains:

  • 26 bones – a quarter of the bones in your body

  • 33 joints

  • Over 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles that connect everything together

  • A network of nerves and blood vessels

Each of these components works together to help the body with balance, support and mobility. A malfunction in any of these parts of the foot can result in problems elsewhere in the body just as problems elsewhere in the body can lead to complications in the feet.

Parts of the foot

The foot is divided into three parts, structurally speaking; the forefoot, midfoot and hindfoot.

Forefoot

The forefoot contains your toes and their metatarsals. Each of your toes is made of several small bones. The big toe has two bones, the proximal and distal. It also has one joint known as the interphalangeal joint. The big toe can articulate because of the head of the metatarsal; this joint is called the first metatarsophalangeal joint or MTPJ for short. The forefoot balances pressure on the ball of the foot and bears half of your body’s weight.

Midfoot

The midfoot contains five oddly shaped tarsal bones, these form the foot’s arch and helps the foot act as a shock absorber. The midfoot attaches to the forefoot and hindfoot by the plantar fascia and muscles.

Hindfoot

There are three joints in the hindfoot; these link the midfoot to the ankle. The ankle then connects to the two bones in your leg, and these form a hinge that allows your foot to move. The heel bone is the largest bone in your foot; this joins to the ankle to form the subtalar joint. A fat layer cushions the bottom of the heel bone.

Each of the three parts of your foot are integral in helping you walk and keeping you stable. If there’s a problem in any of these sections of your foot, it can majorly affect your life. If you suspect that you have an issue in one of your feet, give us a call to make an appointment to get a diagnosis and treatment. Do not attempt to treat the condition yourself, with so much going on in your feet; you can quickly develop other symptoms and cause more damage.