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Foot and Ankle Anatomy

Anatomy Orientation:

Foot images - dorsal, plantar, anterior, posterior, distal, proximal, medial, lateral

Dorsal view of foot anatomy

Plantar view of the anatomy of the foot

Anterior view of the anatomy of the foot Posterior view of the anatomy of the foot and ankle.
Dorsal Plantar Anterior Posterior


Dorsal refers to the top of the foot. Plantar refers to the bottom of the foot

Anterior refers to the front of the body. Posterior refers to the back of the body


In the diagrams above and below, basic medical terminology and orientation are shown for the foot and ankle.

Foot anatomy orientation, distal, proximal, medial and lateral

 

 

Distal means further from the body 


Proximal means closer to the body


Medial means towards the center line of the body 


Lateral means away from the center line of the body


The peroneal brevis tendon insertion is labeled in the second image and this is a common area of pain in peroneal tendonitis. Avulsion fractures of the base of the 5th metatarsal will have pain in this area. In the anterior view of the foot, the common area of nerve impingement is labeled. The great toe is also labeled. The most common problem at the great toe is a bunion. Osteoarthritis is also common at the great toe joint, also known as the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint. The last image shows the posterior view of the foot and the Achilles tendon. The two areas labeled are the common areas of pain in Achilles tendonitis.


Foot anatomy image labeled

Anatomy of the lateral foot labeled

Anatomy of the anterior view Anatomy foot posterior view labeled
Medial Lateral Anterior Posterior

Bones in the Foot

A labeled diagram of the bones in the foot is shown on the right.  This view is from the top of the foot.


A. distal phalanx of the hallux
B. proximal phalanx of the hallux 

C. distal phalanges
D. intermediate phalanges
E. proximal phalanges
F. 1st metatarsal
G. lesser metatarsals

H. medial cuneiform

I. intermediate cuneiform

J. lateral cuneiform

K. styloid process
L. cuboid
M.navicular
N. talus
O. calcaneus
Anatomy bones of the foot labeled

 

A labeled diagram of the bones in the foot is shown on the left. This view is from the bottom of the foot, a plantar view. Ligaments attaching to the bones are also shown, but not labeled in this diagram.


Foot anatomy bones plantar view labeled A. distal phalanx of the hallux
B. proximal phalanx of the hallux
C. distal phalanges
D. intermediate phalanges
E. proximal phalanges
F. 1st metatarsal
G. lesser metatarsals
H. medial cuneiform
I. intermediate cuneiform
J.  lateral cuneiform
K. styloid process
L. cuboid
M. navicular
N. talus
O. calcaneus
P. sesamoid


Common structural foot problems that develop at the metatarsal phalangeal joints include bunions and hammertoes.


Tendons on the Top of the Foot

 

 

A tendon is a structure that connects the muscle to the bone. It can be described as a cord or a band of connective tissue. The extensor hallucis longus originates in the front of the leg and travels down the ankle to attach on the big toe. The function is to pull up the big toe (extend) and pull up the ankle (dorsiflex). The extensor digitorum longus originates in the front of the legs, also travels across the ankle and inserts on all the toes. This tendon pulls the toes up (extend) and pulls up the ankle (dorsiflex).  The extensor digitorum brevis is a small muscle that originates on the top of the heel bone and extends out to the digits. The extensor digitorum brevis pulls the toes up (extends the toes). 

Image of tendons on the top of the foot

A. Extensor hallucis longus


B. Extensor digitorum longus


C. Extensor digitorum brevis


 

Tendons on the Bottom of the Foot

The image below shows the flexor hallucis longus, the flexor digitorum brevis, flexor digitorum longus and posterior tibial tendon. The flexor hallucis longus originates in the back of the leg, crosses the ankle and inserts on the base of the small bone in the big toe. It's action is to bend the big toe down (flex) and bend the ankle down (plantar flex). The flexor hallucis brevis is a small muscle that originates from the small bones on the bottom of the foot and inserts on the base of the big toe. It's action is to bend the big toe down (flex). The flexor digitorum longus originates in the back of the leg, crosses the ankle and inserts on the tips of the toes. It's action is to bend the toes down (flex) and bend the ankle down (plantar flex). The posterior tibialis originates in the back of the leg, cross the ankle and inserts on the navicular and on the bottom of the midfoot within the arch. The action of the posterior tibialis is to bend the ankle down (plantar flex) and to support the arch (supinate).

Image of tendons on the bottom of the foot, flexor tendons

A. Flexor hallucis longus


B. Flexor hallucis brevis


C. Flexor digitorum longus


D. Posterior tibialis


 


The most common foot condition associated with tendons is tendinitis, also referred to as tendinosis or tendinopathy. More information on tendonitis/tendinosis, posterior tibial tendonitis and phases of tendon healing.


More Foot Anatomy Information, Images and Diagrams

Bones in the Foot: more details and images on the bones in the foot.

Tendons and Ligaments: information on foot and ankle tendons and ligaments including the extensor tendons, the flexor tendons and the ligaments of the ankle.

Great Toe Joint: diagrams of the structures of the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint, known as the big toe joint or the great toe joint.

Toenail Anatomy: Diagrams, illustrations and descriptions of the toenail.

Biomechanics: information on foot function and the mechanics of the foot. Definitions for dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, eversion, supination and pronation.

Terminology/medical dictionary: definitions of medical terms and structures relating to the foot and ankle.



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last updated 08/08/13

Copyright: Most of the images on this page are copyright Primal Pictures and are not the property of Northcoast Footcare, Inc.

Disclaimer: The advice on this website is not intended to substitute for a visit to your health care provider. We will not be held liable for any diagnosis made or treatment recommended. Consult your doctor if you feel you have a medical problem