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Anatomy of the foot and ankle

Some useful information about the foot and ankle.

The foot is widely considered to be a group of bones joined to the shin bones at the ankle, which acts as a simple hinge. This couldn't be further from the truth. The foot is more complex than the hands and takes loads that are often many times greater than body weight, from a walk to a skip to a jump. It is small wonder that parts of it go wrong or require 'maintenance'.


There are usually 28 bones in the foot (including two little sesamoid bones under the great toe). They are designed to create a platform of vaying size and inclination through which the powerful calf muscles can transfer their energy as they push the body forward.

Holding the bones together are strong ligaments acting as 'check straps' to joint movements. Tendons, from the muscles, run across the bones through tunnels, allowing finer movements of the hindfoot metatarsals and toes. Special ligaments, known as 'fascias' maintain foot posture without using energy. They actually store this energy and release like a spring.

Specific Anatomy