Our feet is one of the most remarkable gifts of biology. It is an essential structure of our anatomy. It’s hard to think of any human activity that doesn’t require the use of feet. We use it from the moment we wake up, to get to our jobs, and to drive home tired from a day’s work. The feet are so intricate that knowing how many bones are in the foot might surprise you.
What is a feet
The feet (singular, foot) is an anatomical structure present in almost all vertebrates. The main purpose of the feet is to allow locomotion. Additionally, it’s the terminal section of the limb responsible for supporting the entire weight. Common to all humans, each foot is made up of more than one sector of bones.
How many bones are in the feet?
Now here’s the real deal. There are exactly 52 bones in normal human feet – that is 26 bones for each foot. Moreover, the particular bodily structure is also composed of 19 muscles, 107 ligaments, and 33 joints. A new-born baby may have more bones in the feet when compared to a normal adult. However, eventual adulthood will cause the bones to fuse over time, resulting in 52 bones overall.
What are the bones inside the feet?
Here’s the list of the bones of a human foot.
- tarsus: navicular, cuboid, three (3) cuneiformes, calcaneus, talus
- metatarsus: first, second, third, fourth, and fifth
How many metatarsal bones are in the foot?
There are a total five metatarsal bones in the foot. They are not named but is rather classified from first to fifth.
The feet can be categorized into three – namely hindfoot, midfoot, and forefoot.
The forefoot comprises of the five metatarsal bones (forming the metatarsus) along with the five toes correspondingly.
Phalanges are the term pertaining to the bones of the toes. The four smaller toes are composed of three (3) phalanges each; while the remaining big toe has two (2) phalanges.
- The joints between the phalanges and metatarsus are called metatarsophalangeal.
- Interphalangeal is referred to the joints between the phalanges themselves.
The midfoot is comprised of bones that serve as shock absorbers. They’re the ones who bear a significant part of your weight.
The midfoot has five (5) irregular bones: three (3) cuneiforms, one (1) navicular, and one (1) cuboid. These five bones form the arches of the foot which structurally made them the shock absorbers of the body.
It’s called midfoot because it’s located between the forefoot and the hindfoot. It’s connected to those bones via the plantar fascia and the muscles.
Hindfoot comprises of the heel bone (calcaneus) and the ankle bone (talus). The ankle is formed through the connection of the top of the talus and the lower leg’s two long bones, the fibula, and tibia.
Matter of fact, the largest bone of the foot is the heel bone (calcaneus) which is connected to the ankle bone (talus) through the subtalar joint. It is layered by fat that cushions it underneath.
What are the types of pronation?
Pronation, as used in foot anatomy, defines how the body distributes the weight to that part of the body as it cycles through the gait. There are three known types of pronation – overpronation, underpronation (supination), and neutral pronation.
Knowing what type you are is an essential step in choosing the right shoes, consequently taking care of your bones in the process.
1. Neutral pronation
This type of pronation happens when the foot tends to roll inward marginally from the heel’s outer edge through the big toe and forefoot.
You may not notice any tilt if you put your shoes on a flat surface. Further, the soles of your running shoes will wear in an S-pattern shape which you can notice from the big toe to the lateral (outer) heel.
You can consider yourself lucky when you are a neutral pronator because you can basically run in a wide variety of shoes. However, it’s best if you go for shoes having specialized neutral cushioning.
- Shoes that have more ground contact feel
- Good, general cushioning
- Neutral cushioned shoes
2. Severe (overpronation)
Now this one happens when the foot tends to roll inward in an excessive manner starting from the heel to the midfoot.
You can tell you have this type of pronation when you notice extra wear under the ball of your foot (particularly the big toe) and the inside of the heel. You can also feel an inward tilt when you put your shoes on a flat surface.
- With extra cushioning; preferably with motion control
- With arch support and firm midsoles
- Medial post support
- Running shoes with utmost stability
3. Underpronation (supination)
Underpronation occurs when your feet tend to strike the ground on the heel’s lateral side. The foot will refrain to roll far in a medial direction. The weight usually goes to the fifth metatarsal and to the foot’s lateral side.
You are a supinator when you can notice the wear occurs on the outside of your running shoes. You can also notice a little outward tilt when you try to stand with your running shoes on a flat surface.
- Shoes with heel cushioning
- Cushioning on the running shoe’s outside section to counter whenever the foot rolls outwardly
- Midsole cushioning as a good shock absorber
- Shoes with flexibility to distribute impact evenly
The feet is an intricate structure that can surprisingly work for decades, sustaining itself with utmost resilience. That is just one of the many other important reasons why you should take care of your feet. You can start by wearing well-cushioned, roomy shoes that offer great support.
Knowing how many bones are in the foot is indeed an eye-opener to people who haven’t known this fact for long. The feet may just be a small part of the body as a whole but it actually houses 52 bones and hundreds of tendons, ligaments, and muscles that work in coalesce to do their part of our anatomy.