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Foot & Ankle
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Foot & Ankle

The feet are really a series of bones, joints, muscles and tissues that work together to allow standing, walking, running and jumping. The feet are made up of three sections:

  • Forefoot – the toes (phalanges) and the five longer bones (metatarsals) connected to them
  • Midfoot – a pyramid-like structure forming the arches; includes the three cuneiform bones, the cuboid bone, and the navicular bone
  • Hindfoot – the heel and the ankle

Within the hindfoot, the talus supports the leg bones (tibia and fibula) to form the ankle, and the largest bone in the foot, the calcaneus, forms the heel.

The complex movements that make up motion and balance results from a group of muscles, tendons and ligaments that run along the surfaces of the feet.Ankle-Healthy_v1_20141126

The ankle is a complex joint consisting of the tibia, talus, and fibula bones. The area below the ankle is called the hindfoot, and includes the talus and calcaneus. The ankle joint is a hinge-type joint, that allows the toes to be moved towards the floor (plantar flexion) and towards the ceiling (dorsi flexion). The subtalar joint is just below the ankle joint, and is mainly a saddle joint that allows side-to-side motion (inversion and eversion) of the ankle and hindfoot.

The inner face (aspect) of the tibia is called the medial malleolus, and the outer aspect of the fibula is called the lateral malleolus. There is also a set of ligaments called the ‘syndesmosis’ that connects the tibia and fibula just above the joint and maintains the upside-down ‘U’ shape (mortise) of the ankle.

The talus bone is connected to the tibia, fibula, calcaneus, and navicular bones, and 60% of its surface is covered in cartilage. The talus transmits load to the foot and experiences up to six-times your body weight with each step.

The tibia and fibula are connected to the talus via complex sets of ligaments. The inside (medial) ligament complex is called the ‘deltoid’ and has a superficial and deep layer. The outside (lateral) ligament complex is made up of the front (anterior) and back (posterior) talofibular ligaments and the calcaneofibular ligament. These three ligaments work together to prevent the ankle to suffer from injuries due to turning in (inversion). Connecting the heel to the calf muscle is the Achilles tendon, which is crucial for running, jumping, and standing on tiptoe.

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