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Foot and ankle anatomy

The foot is a very complex structure made up of:

  • 28 bones
  • 19 muscles
  • 107 ligaments

It is divided into:


This comprises the largest bone in the foot, the calcaneus. This articulates with the talus and forms the subtalar joint. This joint plays a very significant role in the function of the foot.


This contains the 5 tarsal bones, the cuboid and the navicular, which articulate with the medial, intermediate and lateral cuneiform.


This contains the 5 metatarsals, 14 phalanges in the toes and 2 sesamoids under the first metatarsal phalangeal joint.


The talocrural joint or ankle joint consists of 3 articulations. The talus articulates with the tibia and fibula. The joint is maintained by the strong deltoid ligament on the inside and weaker ligaments on the outside, such as the anterior talofibular ligament.

The ankle allows the foot to move:

  • Up and down (plantar flexion and dorsiflexion)
  • Left and right (abduction and adduction)
  • Rotate left and right (inversion and eversion)

Altered function in any of these areas can cause foot problems and lead to symptoms such as pain, corns, callous, toenail pathologies, ingrowing toenails and ulcerations.