How Many Bones Are in a Human Foot?

Written by denise m. covert, r.n.
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How Many Bones Are in a Human Foot?
(Gray's Anatomy)

The human foot consists of 26 bones: 14 phalanges, five metatarsals and seven tarsal bones. Despite being called the "ankle" bones, tarsal bones are indeed part of the foot.

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Tarsals

The tarsal or ankle bones are called short bones because they are about as wide as they are long. Between the heel and the toes is a row of four bones. Three of the four are called cuneiforms, which means wedge shaped: medial, intermediate and lateral. The cuboid bone is the largest of the four.

Heel

The heel bone is called the calcaneus and forms the base of the foot under the leg. The large part of the bone that sticks out in the back is call the calcaneal tuberosity; this is the part of your heel that you feel and see.

Talus

The talus sits on top of the calcaneus, and it touches three different bones: the calcaneus, the tibia (shin bone) and the navicular, a short tarsal bone just in front of it. The talus, calcaneus, navicular, cuboid and cuneiform bones make up the tarsal group.

Metatarsals

The metatarsals correspond to the metacarpals, the bones you feel in the back of your hand. The metatarsals are numbered I through V from medial (great toe side) to lateral. The great toe is called the hallux.

Phalanges

Phalanges are the names of toe and finger bones. Each toe has three phalanges---proximal, middle and distal---except the hallux, which has only proximal and distal. Like the metatarsals, they are numbered I through V starting from the hallux.

Orientation

The top of the foot is called the dorsal view, and the sole is called the plantar view. Dorsiflexion means to point your toes upward, while plantar flexion means to point them downward. Proximal means closer to the centre of the body, while distal means far away from the centre of the body.

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