Common Ailments

Foot > Overview

The human foot and ankle is a strong and complex mechanical structure containing 26 bones (some people have more), 33 joints (20 of which are actively articulated), and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

The foot can be subdivided into the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot:

The hindfoot is composed of the talus or ankle bone and the calcaneus or heel bone. The two long bones of the lower leg, the tibia and fibula, are connected to the top of the talus to form the ankle. Connected to the talus at the subtalar joint, the calcaneus, the largest bone of the foot, is cushioned by a layer of fat.

The five irregular bones of the midfoot, the cuboid, navicular, and three cuneiform bones, form the arches of the foot which serves as a shock absorber. The midfoot is connected to the hind- and fore-foot by muscles and the plantar fascia.

The forefoot is composed of five toes and the corresponding five proximal long bones forming the metatarsus. Similar to the fingers of the hand, the bones of the toes are called phalanges and the big toe has two phalanges while the other four toes have three phalanges. The joints between the phalanges are called interphalangeal and those between the metatarsus and phalanges are called metatarsophalangeal (MTP).

Choose an ailment from the menu on the left for more information on problems that can arise in this area.