Anatomy The Foot
There are 26 bones in the foot working in unison to allow us to stand upright and achieve complex motions such as walking, running, jumping, dancing, pivoting, and for those of us with long toes, grabbing. For a more in depth breakdown of the ankle read about it here.
- 14 Phalanx bones (the plural word is Phalanges) – Each toe is composed of 3 bones, except for the big toe which only has 2
- 5 Metatarsal bones – Each of the 5 toe connects to a metatarsal
- 3 cuneiform bones – 3 metatarsals attach to a cuneiform bone each
- 1 Cuboid bone – the outer two metatarsals attach to one Cuboid bone that is in line with the cuneiform bones.
- 1 Calcaneus bone – the Cuboid attaches to the Calcaneus, the calcaneus attaches to the Talus, and rests next to the Navicular. The Calcaneus is referred to as the heel.
- 1 Navicular bone – the three cuneiform bones attach to the Navicular, the navicular attaches to the Talus
- 1 Talus bone – The Talus bone plays a pivotal role in the allowing the foot to turn. It has the most contact to other bones in the foot. The Talus is nested between the foot and the leg; connecting with the Navicular, and the Calcaneus in the foot, and the Tibia and Fibula of the leg.
Types of Foot Fractures
Fractures of the Phalanx, or toe, can happen when the toe is met with crushing force, the toe is bent beyond its capable range, or when the toe is stubbed. Non-displaced Phalanx fractures can be taped to the toe next to them, called buddy taping, and allowed to heal in a open toe shoe. Displaced fractures require a trip to a Foot or Bone Specialist.
A Metatarsal Fracture is a fracture of the long bones in the foot that the toes attach to. This type of fracture can occur from acute trauma, or from repetitive stress injury leading to a stress fracture, such as a Jones Fracture. A Metatarsal Fracture can be quite painful and will need to be seen by a specialist to ensure proper and timely healing. A Metatarsal can also become displaced from the midfoot, called a Lisfranc injury.
Cuneiform fractures do occur, but they are often the result of high energy impacts and will be accompanied the majority of the time with additional fractures and torn tendons. A fracture of the cuneiform will need to be seen by a specialist.
A cuboid fracture is going to be painful, cause swelling, and deformity of the foot. The arch may collapse, and the foot may be severely impaired from its normal use. Medical intervention will be necessary, but the fracture is rare and usually only achieved in car wrecks, and large falling objects.
A fractured Calcaneus is a fractured heel bone. This is a very painful injury that will make it quite difficult to bear weight at all on the injured foot. Medical intervention is needed.
A Navicular Fracture in the foot is most often caused by excessive wear and tear over time. The bone usually stress fractures in athletes from overuse. A visit to an orthopedic foot specialist is warranted as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Rest and casting are required for up to 8 weeks for cases that do not require surgical intervention.
A Talus Fracture is quite serious and can severely impact the ability of the foot to turn or bear weight. They are rare and usually only achieved by high energy impacts, such as car wrecks and falls from great height. A prompt visit to an Orthopedic Foot specialist is required.