The Feet


By BruceBlaus. When using this image in external sources it can be cited as:Blausen.com staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29849183Foot care is all important because people don’t grow old without good feet. Keep your feet in decent shape and you are much more likely to keep the rest of your body working longer. The human foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints with 20 or more ways to move, and more than a hundred muscles, ligaments, and tendons.feet

The bottom of the two shin bones, tibia and fibula encase the top and side of the talus bone to form the ankle joint. The ankle is a mortise and tenon type of joint which limits the movement of the ankle to a strict hinge as opposed to the knee which has more give.  Movement takes place within the 26 bones of the foot.

The foot can be subdivided into three sections: the hind foot, midfoot, and forefoot. The hind foot is composed of the talus, the calcaneus (which is the largest bone of the foot and the landing pad for each step we take), and the navicular. The midfoot is composed of four bones, the cuboid, and three cuneiform bones. The forefoot is the five toes—the metatarsal and phalangeal bones.

There are three arches in each foot—the inner arch, the outer arch, and the transverse arch. The outer and inner arches are lifted up by the peroneus brevis and longus respectively, while the transverse arch is hoisted up by the tibialis posterior and anterior with the help of the flexor hallucis longus and flexor digitorum longus.

The foot is a spring arch and ligaments and fascia provide stability and allow for the spring action of the arches. Twelve muscles from the leg insert on and move the foot while twenty muscles are within the foot itself. There is one layer of muscle on the top of the foot and four layers below. The work of these intrinsic foot muscles is where the best work happens in tree pose.

The arches of the feet form in response to demand of the muscles of the lower leg and the arches are literally hoisted by the strength of these muscles.

Get to know your feet. Look at them and see what they can do. Give them the gift of more movement. Supple feet and ankles make for supple hips as everything in the body is connected.

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23 Comments
  1. Yes, three arches essentially comprise the “hemi-dome” of the foot arch architecture. Yet, it is vital to conceptualize this as a complex three dimensional structure—not just a simple summation of these components. Furthermore, the transverse arch stretches more or less across the tarsals, not as some authorities (such as “Foot-Levelers”) claim, which is that it lies across the distal metatarsals, which is illogical. Their illustrations show a triangular pattern, which–again–seems totally at odds with the structure–and dynamics–of the human foot. *

    I have done some work with foot orthotics (for “pes planus” (flat-foot) patients), and have found that an appliance that fairly decently approximates the medical longitudinal arch, matched with particularly good support of the general navicular-medial cuneiform-intermediate cuneiform bone area, seems to provide an excellent correction, and tends to provide superior stability for the entire spine (and potently lessen overall stress). I have heard some claim that the navicular is the “keystone” in this “equation,” (among other explanations), but my experience is that this entire three-bone area is a kind of “functional keystone.” If I had to pick a single bone, I’d probably take the intermediate cuneiform. If you will note the shape of the bone, you will notice that it is wedge-shaped (like a keystone), being much smaller on the plantar/ventral (bottom) aspect, compared to the dorsal (top) aspect. Regardless, in actual practice, support of the two key areas, really seems to “do the trick.” Of course, one must also consider the role that ligaments play, along with the osseous structures.

    * http://www.footlevelers.com/about/the-comparison

  2. There may be something to what you say, but many folks have weakened ligaments, and absolutely need arch support. For these, a well-made orthotic can be a terrific blessing. In my own case, as a young man, I made the mistake of routinely carrying sacks of concrete in my job at a large hardware firm. Even simply working on the (concrete) floor, on this and subsequent jobs, was a very stressful experience, after about an hour.

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