Why Are There So Many Bones in the Foot?
- Nov 19, 2018 -

Why Are There So Many Bones in the Foot?

Your foot is comprised of 26 bones in the foot and separated into parts for easy description and easy understanding – an ankle, the talus bone and the calcaneus bone called the heel. This part is generally called the hindfoot. There’s also a midfoot and a forefoot.

 

bones of the foot

bones of the foot

 

The ankle of your foot also connects to the lower bones of your leg which are long bones leading to your knee. These are the tibia and fibula bone, and they fit together nicely in such a way that you can point your toes downward or upward toward the sky, and you can also move your ankle a bit to the right and to the left.

 

It’s hard to believe that in the foot alone, there are 33 joints and over 100 different muscles, ligaments and tendons! That’s a lot of connective tissue to contend with!

 

Each part of the foot – each of the bones in the foot plays an important role in your body. There are no extra bones, just as there are no missing bones or missing parts of the puzzle of what allows you to stand up straight and support your body during walking, running, jumping or gymnastics.

The heel bone is a major form of support for your body weight. Many muscles and tendons and ligaments connect to it that have a purpose of moving your foot in many different ways. Underneath your heel bone is a fat pad. Interestingly, this fat pad can disappear if someone goes on a crash diet. Thus, the person could end up with heel pain because the fat pad is disappearing. The fat pad cushions your foot from the shock and impact of walking.

 

There are five bones of the midfoot and these are shaped like a cube or are triangular/squarish in nature. The names of these bones are the cuboid (the one with a cube shape), navicular and cuneiform bone 1, 2 and 3. These five bones form a nice arch called the medial longitudinal arch. A broad band of connective tissue connects these bones in the foot to the heel.

 

The forefoot is everything else in the foot. Each toe has parts called phalanges and is connected to a metatarsal bone that is longer than the toe itself. The metatarsal bones connect to the midfoot.

 

Did you know there are 14 toe bones in the foot? As mentioned before, these are called phalanges. Besides these phalanges, there may also be sesamoid bones. The number of sesamoid bones varies from one person to the next. These bones in the foot are for the purpose of extra cushioning of the bones. They are among the smallest bones of the body.

 

The metatarsal bones are another part of the bones in the feet that make up the medial longitudinal arch or the metatarsal arch of the feet.

midfoot

midfoot

 

If you ask any student who is enrolled in an anatomy class how he’s doing at memorizing all the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the feet, you’ll most likely hear that it’s a slow process. The muscles will start at a number of different places and then end up at a part of the foot (in most cases). The tendon may mingle together with other ligaments such as the Achilles tendon, which come down from the different parts of the gastrocnemius muscle.

 

These muscles, tendons and ligaments are layered strategically so your foot can perform all different types of movement.

 

Taking all this into consideration, one could find it difficult to conceive that the foot spontaneously appeared in the body as an adaptation. Why couldn’t there have been someone who was highly intelligent behind the design? Even considering just the bones of the foot by themselves, how could they ever have simply adapted into a shape and form that worked?