Foot Anatomy
The human foot is a combined structure of base and lever, supporting and balancing the body’s weight while standing, as well as raising and moving the body forward when in motion. Our feet work for us the whole day, whether we stand, play, run, or walk, and in the process they become the most affected part of our anatomy.

Parts of the Foot

Bones
The foot is composed of 26 skeletal bones held together by muscles, ligaments and tendons. These 26 bones are divided into three groups:

Phalanges: consists of fourteen bones in the toes
Metatarsus: consists of five slender bones located in the front of the instep
Tarsus: consists of seven bones that form the back of the foot

Tendons

Tendons are strong inelastic “ropes” which attach the muscles to the bones. They keep the dynamic balance and shape of the foot.

Muscles
The foot has 32 muscles and tendons. Muscles of the foot and leg balance the body and control the levers. The muscles in the leg provide power for the foot and those in the foot itself are used mainly for balance and direction.

Ligaments
The foot has 109 ligaments that serve as hinges to keep the bones and joints together. They are bands of “ropes”. They are fibrous and strong but less elastic than muscles. Ligaments hold the bones together, particularly those of the arch by keeping it in a firm, unyielding curve when weight is placed upon it. They maintain the static form of the foot.

Arch
An arch is a series of bones forming a rigid, but curved structure held together by ligaments. When pressure or weight is applied to the arch the ends tend to spread apart, but the ligaments, which do not give away under the pressure, hold it firmly in place. The foot has 1 main arch along the inside of the foot and 3 lesser arches: the metatarsal arch across the ball of the foot, the outer long arch down the outside of the foot and a short arch under the rear of the foot.

Toes
Toes function to grip, clamping the feet to the walking surface. They give final propulsion as the foot completes a step, shifting weight to the other foot. Although the big toe carries part of the body weight with each step, no weight rests on the big toe as the body stands. The toes’ gripping tendency helps to maintain balance and aid propulsion.

Weight Distribution
Distribution of weight is concentrated upon six basic points of support provided by the bone framework. The heel bone takes about half the weight. Any abnormalities of the foot structure which upset the normal distribution of weight bearing will cause inconvenience and discomfort.

Shoe Care Tips

Foot Anatomy

Development of the Foot

General Foot Types

Minor Foot Disorders

Shoe Fitting Pointers

Fit Problems