Parts of foot : Easy Understanding of foot anatomy

parts of foot

Your feet are the foundation of your body. They carry you through every step of your day, supporting your weight and helping you move around. But have you ever stopped to think about what makes up your feet and how they work? Understanding about parts of foot is necessary for keeping them healthy and happy.

What are parts of feet ?

Your feet are made up of following parts :

  • Bones
  • Muscles and tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Arches
  • Joints 
  • Nerves
  • Vessels

Lets get to know about all of them so you can have easy understanding. But knowing about your feet you can judge where problem lies in your feet and what you can do . 

Bones of foot

Your feet is made up of several bones that work together to provide support and mobility. Let’s explore the different types of bones in the foot

Tarsals (7 Bones)

  1. Heel Bone (Calcaneus): This is the largest bone in your feet, forming the heel. It helps support your weight when you stand or walk.

  2. Ankle Bone (Talus): This bone sits between your lower leg bones and the heel bone. It helps transfer weight and forces from your leg to your feet.

  3. Navicular Bone: Shaped like a boat, this bone supports the arch of your foot and helps maintain its flexibility.

  4. Cuboid Bone: Located on the outer side of your foot, this bone helps stabilize your foot and connect the midfoot to the outer toes.

  5. Medial Cuneiform: This wedge-shaped bone is on the inner side of your feet, connecting the navicular bone to the first and second metatarsal bones.

  6. Intermediate Cuneiform: It is Positioned between your medial and lateral cuneiform bones, it supports the foot arch and helps distribute weight.

  7. Lateral Cuneiform: It is Situated between your cuboid bone and the intermediate cuneiform, it helps distribute weight across the foot.

Metatarsals (5 Bones)

  1. Big Toe Bone (First Metatarsal): The largest and strongest metatarsal bone, it bears a lot of weight when you walk or run.

  2. Second Metatarsal: This bone runs next to the big toe bone and helps spread weight evenly across the ball of your feet.

  3. Third Metatarsal: Positioned beside the second metatarsal, it provides support and stability to the middle of your feet.

  4. Fourth Metatarsal: Located between the third and fifth metatarsals, it helps maintain your foot arch and support the adjacent toes.

  5. Fifth Metatarsal: Found on the outer edge of your feet, it plays a crucial role in weight-bearing and balance, especially during side-to-side movements.

Phalanges (Toe Bones) - 14 Bones

Each toe has three phalanges, except the big toe, which has two:

  • Proximal Phalanx: Closest to the metatarsal bone.
  • Middle Phalanx: Between the proximal and distal phalanges.
  • Distal Phalanx: At the tip of the toe.

Understanding the bones of your feet helps you recognize and address issues related to feet health and function. Next, we’ll explore how these bones work with muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints to keep your feet moving smoothly and without pain.

Muscles and Tendons in the Foot

Understanding the roles of these muscles and tendons is essential for knowing the mechanisms of foot function and mobility.


Flexor Hallucis Longus
  • Function: This muscle is responsible for bending your big toe downward, a movement known as toe flexion. It helps push off the ground when you walk, run, or jump.

  • Location: The flexor hallucis longus muscle originates from the back of your lower leg, crosses behind your ankle, and attaches to the bottom of your big toe.

Extensor Digitorum Longus
  • Function: The extensor digitorum longus muscle extends or straightens your toes, allowing you to lift them off the ground. This action is crucial for activities like walking, running, and maintaining balance.

  • Location: It originates from the front of your lower leg, travels down the top of your foot, and attaches to the toes.


Plantar fascia
  • Function: The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue located on the bottom of your foot. It plays a vital role in supporting the arch of your foot and absorbing shock during activities such as walking, running, and jumping.

  • Location: This tendon runs from the heel bone (calcaneus) to the base of the toes, providing structural support to the foot’s arch.

Ligaments of foot

Your foot has tough bands of tissue called ligaments that keep your bones together and provide stability to your joints. Let’s learn more about how these ligaments work and explore some important ones:

Role of Ligaments in Foot Stability

  • Ligaments act like strong ropes that hold your foot bones together, keeping them stable and preventing excessive movement.
  • They support your foot arches and help distribute weight evenly when you stand, walk, or run.

Important Ligaments in the Foot

Plantar Calcaneonavicular Ligament
  • Function: This ligament, also known as the “spring ligament,” supports your feet arch and prevents it from flattening too much when you walk or run.

  • Location: It’s found on the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone (calcaneus) to the navicular bone.

Deltoid Ligament
  • Function: The deltoid ligament is a strong, triangular-shaped ligament on the inner side of your ankle joint. It keeps the inner aspect of your ankle stable and prevents your foot from rolling inward too much.

  • Location: It starts from the inner ankle bone (medial malleolus) and attaches to various foot bones.

Anterior Talofibular Ligament
  • Function: This ligament is vital for preventing your foot from sliding too far forward relative to your ankle joint. It helps keep your ankle stable and prevents injuries.

  • Location: It stretches from the outer ankle bone (lateral malleolus) to the talus bone.

Understanding the roles of these ligaments is essential for maintaining foot stability and preventing injuries. They work together to keep your foot strong and steady, allowing you to move comfortably and confidently.

Joints of foot

In your feet, joints are where two or more bones meet and allow movement. Understanding these joints is crucial for comprehending how your feet functions.Lets have an easy understanding.

Types of Joints and Their Functions

  • Hinge Joints: These joints allow movement in only one direction, like bending and straightening. They provide stability and support.
  • Gliding Joints: These joints enable bones to glide over each other in various directions. They contribute to smooth movements and flexibility.
  • Pivot Joints: Pivot joints allow rotation around an axis. They are essential for rotational movements, like turning your foot from side to side.

Important Joints in the Foot

Ankle joint
  • Type: Hinge Joint
  • Function: The ankle joint allows your feet to move up and down, like when you point your toes (plantarflexion) or pull them up towards your shin (dorsiflexion).
  • Location: It’s formed by the lower end of the tibia (shinbone), the fibula (outer lower leg bone), and the talus bone (top of the feet).
Subtalar joints
  • Type: Gliding Joint
  • Function: The subtalar joint is responsible for side-to-side movement of the foot. It allows your foot to tilt inward (inversion) and outward (eversion) to adapt to uneven surfaces.
  • Location: It’s located below the ankle joint, between the talus bone and the calcaneus (heel bone).
Metatarsophalangeal Joint
  • Type: Hinge Joint
  • Function: This joint allows movement between the metatarsal bones (the long bones in the middle of your feet) and the phalanges (toe bones). It enables you to bend and straighten your toes.
  • Location: It’s found at the base of each toe, where the metatarsal bone meets the proximal phalanx bone.

Understanding the different types of joints and their functions in your feet is essential for maintaining mobility and preventing injuries.

Arches of foot

The arches of your foot are like natural shock absorbers, providing support, flexibility, and balance to your entire body. Let’s explore.

Overview of foot arches

Your foot has three arches.

  • Medial Longitudinal Arch: This arch runs along the inner side of your foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot.

  • Lateral Longitudinal Arch: This arch runs along the outer side of your foot, from the heel to the fifth metatarsal bone.

  • Transverse Arch: This arch runs across the middle of your foot, from side to side.

Types of Foot Arches

Flat Arches (Low Arches)
  • Flat arches have minimal or no curvature, causing the entire sole of the feet to touch the ground when standing.
  • People with flat arches may experience overpronation (inward rolling of the feet) and may be more prone to foot conditions like plantar fasciitis and arch pain.
Normal Arches (Medium Arches)
  • Normal arches have a moderate curvature, allowing the feet to maintain a balanced position when standing.
  • People with normal arches usually have a good balance between flexibility and support, reducing the risk of feet problems.
High Arches (Cavus Arches)
  • High arches have a pronounced curvature, with only a small portion of the feet making contact with the ground when standing.
  • People with high arches may experience underpronation (outward rolling of the foot) and may be more prone to issues like ankle instability and stress fractures.

Importance of Arch Support and Foot Health

  • Provides Stability: Arch support helps distribute your body weight evenly across your feet, reducing pressure on specific areas and promoting proper alignment.

  • Prevents Injuries: Proper arch support can help prevent common foot problems like plantar fasciitis, arch pain, and heel spurs by providing cushioning and shock absorption.

  • Improves Posture: Supporting your foot arches can improve your overall posture and alignment, reducing strain on your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back.

Understanding the different types of feet arches and the importance of arch support is essential for maintaining feet health and preventing injuries.

Whether you have flat, normal, or high arches, providing adequate support can help keep your feet happy and healthy for years to come.

muscle and ligaments of foot
Muscle and ligament of foot

Nerves in the Foot

Your foot contains various nerves that transmit signals between your brain and your foot, allowing you to feel sensations and move your foot. Let’s explore each nerve in detail:

Tibial nerve

The tibial nerve is an important nerve that provides sensation to the bottom of your feet and controls the muscles involved in feet movement.

  • Function: It helps you feel sensations like pressure, touch, and temperature on the sole of your feet.
  • Location: The tibial nerve runs along the back of your leg, behind the knee, and branches into smaller nerves as it reaches your feet.
  • Importance: This nerve plays a key role in maintaining balance and stability while walking or standing.

Common peroneal nerve

The common peroneal nerve innervates the muscles that help with ankle movement and provides sensation to the top of your foot and toes.

  • Function: It allows you to move your ankle and toes, such as lifting your foot or wiggling your toes.
  • Location: The common peroneal nerve branches off from the sciatic nerve and travels down the side of your leg before dividing into smaller nerves near your knee.
  • Importance: This nerve helps you maintain proper feet alignment and control your foot movements during activities like walking or running.

Sural nerve

The sural nerve supplies sensation to the outer side of your feet and the small toe.

  • Function: It enables you to feel sensations like touch and pressure on the outer edge of your foot.
  • Location: The sural nerve is formed by branches from the tibial and common peroneal nerves and travels along the outer side of your lower leg before reaching your feet.
  • Importance: This nerve contributes to your overall sense of touch and helps you maintain balance and stability.

Medial plantar nerve

The medial plantar nerve provides sensation to the inner side of your feet, including the big toe, and controls the muscles that support the arch.

  • Function: It allows you to feel sensations like touch, pressure, and temperature on the inner edge of your feet and big toe.
  • Location: The medial plantar nerve travels along the inner side of your feet, branching into smaller nerves that supply different areas of the sole.
  • Importance: This nerve plays a crucial role in maintaining proper foot alignment, supporting the arch, and providing stability during activities like walking or standing.

Lateral plantar nerve

The lateral plantar nerve supplies sensation to the outer part of the sole and controls muscles that aid in feet movement and stability.

  • Function: It helps you feel sensations like touch, pressure, and temperature on the outer side of your foot and provides support during weight-bearing activities.
  • Location: The lateral plantar nerve runs along the outer edge of your foot, branching into smaller nerves that innervate different areas of the sole.
  • Importance: This nerve contributes to the overall sensation and stability of your foot, allowing you to maintain balance and control during various movements.
nerves of foot
Nerves of foot

Vessels of foot

Your foot contains a network of blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and carry away waste products. Let’s explore each vessel in detail


Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the tissues of the body, including the foot.

Dorsalis Pedis Artery
  • Function: This artery supplies blood to the top of the foot and the toes.
  • Location: The dorsalis pedis artery runs along the top of the feet, between the ankle and the base of the toes.
  • Importance: It provides essential oxygen and nutrients to the skin and muscles of the foot, supporting movement and sensation.
Posterior Tibial Artery
  • Function: The posterior tibial artery supplies blood to the back and bottom of the foot.
  • Location: It runs along the back of the leg, behind the tibia bone, and branches into smaller vessels as it reaches the foot.
  • Importance: This artery plays a crucial role in maintaining circulation to the foot and ankle, supporting tissue health and wound healing.


Veins are blood vessels that carry oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart from the tissues of the body, including the foot.

Dorsal Venous Arch
  • Function: The dorsal venous arch collects blood from the top of the foot and drains it into deeper veins.
  • Location: It is located on the top of the feet,  just beneath the skin’s surface.
  • Importance: The dorsal venous arch helps return blood to the heart and maintains circulation in the foot.
Plantar Venous Arch
  • Function: The plantar venous arch collects blood from the bottom of the feet and carries it back to deeper veins.
  • Location: It is situated on the sole of the feet, beneath the plantar surface.
  • Importance: This arch assists in venous return, preventing blood from pooling in the foot and ensuring proper circulation.

Common Foot Problems

Your feet can experience various issues that might cause discomfort. Let’s talk about some common feet problems:

Plantar Fasciitis

  • Description: Plantar fasciitis happens when the tissue along the bottom of your foot gets inflamed.
  • Symptoms: You might feel pain in your heel, especially when you take your first steps in the morning or after resting.
  • Causes: This problem can occur due to wearing tight shoes, having high or flat arches, or being overweight.
  • Treatment: Rest your foot, put ice on it, and wear supportive shoes. You can also do stretches and use special inserts in your shoes.


  • Description: Bunions are bumps that form on the joint at the base of your big toe.
  • Symptoms: You might have pain, swelling, or redness around the bunion. It can also make your big toe point toward the other toes.
  • Causes: Wearing tight or narrow shoes, high heels, or having a family history of bunions can cause them.
  • Treatment: Wear wider shoes, use bunion pads, and try shoe inserts. If it’s severe, you might need surgery to fix it.

Morton's Neuroma

  • Description: Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition where tissue thickens around a nerve in your feet.
  • Symptoms: You might feel burning pain or numbness in the ball of your foot or between your toes.
  • Causes: It can happen from wearing tight shoes, high heels, or doing activities that put pressure on your forefoot.
  • Treatment: Wear roomy shoes, use orthotic devices, or get corticosteroid injections to reduce pain. In severe cases, surgery might be needed.


  • Description: Hammertoes are toes that bend downward instead of pointing forward.
  • Symptoms: They can cause pain, corns, or calluses on the affected toes.
  • Causes: Tight shoes, high heels, or muscle imbalances in your feet can lead to hammertoes.
  • Treatment: Wear shoes with a wide toe box, use toe splints, and do stretching exercises. In serious cases, surgery might be required.

Ingrown Toenails

  • Description: Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a toenail grows into the skin surrounding the nail bed, causing pain and inflammation.
  • Symptoms: You may experience redness, swelling, tenderness, or infection around the affected toenail. Ingrown toenails can be very painful, especially when wearing shoes or walking.
  • Causes: Ingrown toenails can develop from improper nail trimming, wearing tight shoes, injury, or having naturally curved toenails.
  • Treatment: Soak your feet in warm water, gently lift the edge of the ingrown nail, and place a small piece of cotton or dental floss under it to help it grow above the skin. If the problem persists or becomes infected, you may need to see a doctor for removal of the ingrown portion of the nail.

Athlete's Foot

  • Description: Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet, typically between the toes. It thrives in warm, moist environments, such as sweaty shoes and locker room floors.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, burning, redness, and cracking of the skin between the toes. In severe cases, blisters or peeling skin may develop.
  • Causes: Athlete’s foot is caused by various types of fungi, often spread through contact with contaminated surfaces or by walking barefoot in public places.
  • Treatment: Keep your feet clean and dry, wear clean socks and shoes, and use over-the-counter antifungal creams or powders to treat athlete’s foot. In stubborn cases, prescription medications may be necessary to clear the infection.

Knowing about these feet problems can help you take care of your feet and seek treatment if needed. If you’re experiencing feet pain or discomfort, it’s best to see a doctor for advice.

Foot Care Tips

Taking care of your feet is essential for overall health and mobility. Here are some practical tips to help you maintain foot health

Proper Footwear Selection

Choose Comfortable Shoes

  • When buying shoes, opt for ones that feel comfortable and provide adequate support.
  • Make sure there is enough room for your toes to wiggle without feeling cramped.
  • Avoid shoes with high heels or narrow toe boxes that can squeeze your toes.

Look for Supportive Features

  • Select shoes with cushioned insoles and arch support to help absorb shock and reduce pressure on your feet.
  • Consider orthotic inserts if you need extra support or have specific feet conditions like flat feet or high arches.

Check Shoe Fit Regularly

  • Your shoe size can change over time, so it’s essential to measure your feet periodically and ensure your shoes still fit properly.
  • Replace worn-out shoes or ones that no longer provide adequate support to prevent feet problems.

Preventing Foot Injuries and Conditions

Practice Good Hygiene

Wash your feet daily with soap and water, and make sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes, to prevent fungal infections like athlete’s foot.

Trim Toenails Carefully

  • Trim your toenails straight across and avoid cutting them too short to prevent ingrown toenails.
  • Use proper nail clippers and avoid rounding the edges of your nails, as this can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.

Wear Appropriate Footwear for Activities

  • Choose footwear designed for the specific activity you’re engaging in, whether it’s walking, running, or playing sports.
  • Wear supportive shoes with good traction to reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls.

Stretch and Strengthen Your Feet

  • Incorporate stretching exercises for your feet and calf muscles into your daily routine to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of foot injuries.
  • Perform foot-strengthening exercises like toe curls and arch raises to build muscle strength and stability in your feet.

So Taking care of your feet is essential for maintaining mobility and preventing foot problems. By following these practical tips for proper footwear selection, preventing feet injuries, and practicing good feet hygiene, you can keep your feet healthy and happy for years to come.

Remember to listen to your body and seek medical attention if you experience persistent foot pain or discomfort.

Bottom line

Understanding your feet anatomy and practicing proper foot care are essential for your overall health. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Key Points: We covered feet anatomy, common feet problems, and feet care tips.

  • Importance: Your feet support your body and affect your mobility, so taking care of them is crucial.

By following the advice in this article, you can keep your feet healthy and prevent problems that may affect your well-being. Always listen to your body and seek medical help if needed. Your feet deserve the best care for a happy and active life.

FAQs on parts of foot

The foot has several bones, including the tarsals, metatarsals, and phalanges. These bones provide structure and support to the foot, enabling movement and balance.

Important muscles for foot movement include the flexor hallucis longus, extensor digitorum longus, and plantar fascia. These muscles help control toe movement, arch support, and overall foot flexibility.

Ligaments such as the plantar calcaneonavicular ligament, deltoid ligament, and anterior talofibular ligament play crucial roles in foot stability. They help keep the foot bones aligned and prevent excessive movement.

Foot arches, including the medial longitudinal arch, lateral longitudinal arch, and transverse arch, support the body’s weight and help maintain proper posture. Strong arches reduce strain on the ankles, knees, and lower back.

Common foot problems include plantar fasciitis, bunions, Morton’s neuroma, hammertoes, and ingrown toenails. Treatments may include rest, orthotic devices, stretching exercises, and in severe cases, surgery to alleviate pain and discomfort.