How Many Bones Are in a Human Foot?

Updated April 17, 2017

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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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About the Author

Denise M. Covert is a registered nurse, writer and editor from Florida. She has been a journalist for more than 15 years and holds degrees in journalism, music and nursing. After working for daily newspapers for years, she now serves as a nurse on a cardiac floor at a major hospital.