Anatomy, Foot & Ankle: Musculoskeletal Medicine (2022)

Bones and Joints
Muscles and Tendons


A solid understanding of anatomy is essential to effectively diagnose and treat patients with foot and ankle problems. Anatomy is a road map. Most structures in the foot are fairly superficial and can be easily palpated. Anatomical structures (tendons, bones, joints, etc) tend to hurt exactly where they are injured or inflamed. Therefore a basic understanding of surface anatomy allows the clinician to quickly establish the diagnosis or at least narrow the differential diagnosis. For those conditions that require surgery a detailed understanding of anatomy is critical to ensure that the procedure is performed efficiently and without injuring any important structures. With a good grasp of foot anatomy it readily becomes apparent which surgical approaches can be used to access various areas of the foot and ankle.

There are a variety of anatomical structures that make up the anatomy of the foot and ankle (Figure 1) including bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and nerves. These will be reviewed in the sections of this chapter.

Figure 1: Bones of the Foot and Ankle

Regions of the Foot

The foot is traditionally divided into three regions: the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot (Figure 2). Additionally, the lower leg often refers to the area between the knee and the ankle and this area is critical to the functioning of the foot.

The Hindfoot begins at the ankle joint and stops at the transverse tarsal joint (a combination of the talonavicular and calcaneal-cuboid joints). The bones of the hindfoot are the talus and the calcaneus.

The Midfoot begins at the transverse tarsal joint and ends where the metatarsals begin --at the tarsometatarsal (TMT) joint. While the midfoot has several more joints than the hindfoot, these joints have limited mobility. The five bones of the midfoot comprise the navicular, cuboid, and the three cuneiforms (medial, middle, and lateral).

The Forefoot is composed of the metatarsals, phalanges, and sesamoids. The bones that make up the forefoot are those that are last to leave the ground during walking. There are twenty-one bones in the forefoot: five metatarsals, fourteen phalanges, and two sesamoids. The great toe has only a proximal and distal phalanx, but the four lesser toes each have proximal, middle, and distal phalanges, which are much small than those of the great toe. There are two sesamoid bones embedded in the flexor hallucis brevis tendons that sit under the first metatarsal at the level of the great toe joint (1st metatarsophalangeal joint).

Figure 2: Regions of the Foot

Columns of the Foot

The foot is sometimes described as having two columns (Figure 3). The medial column is more mobile and consists of the talus, navicular, medial cuneiform, 1st metatarsal, and great toe. The lateral column is stiffer and includes the calcaneus, cuboid, and the 4th and 5th metatarsals.

Figure 3: Columns of the Foot

Bones and Joints

The foot is comprised of 28 bones (Figure 1). Where two bones meet a joint is formed –often supported by strong ligaments. It is helpful to think of the joints of the foot based on their mobility (Table 1). A few of the joints are quite mobile and are required for the foot to function normally from a biomechanical point of view. These are often referred to as essential joints. There are some joints that move a moderate amount, and there are other joints that are held tightly together with strong ligaments. These non-mobile joints are sometimes referred to as non-essential joints. (This may be a poor term in that it incorrectly implies that the joints are not important; they are important. Rather the correct sense is only that movement from these joints is less critical.)

Table 1: Joint Function in the Foot

Mobile Joints of the Foot and Ankle (Essential Joints):

Ankle joint (tibiotalar joint)

Subtalar joint

Talonavicular joint (TN joint)

Metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints

Joints that Move a Moderate Amount:

Calcaneal-cuboid joint

(Video) Foot Anatomy Animated Tutorial

Cuboid-metatarsal joint for the fourth and fifth metatarsal.

Proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP)

Distal interphalageal joint (DIP)

Joints with Minimal Movement (Non-Essential Joints):

Navicular-cuneiform joints

Intercuneiform joints

Tarsometatarsal (TMT) joint “Lisfranc” Joint (a.k.a. midfoot joint)

Bones of the lower leg and hindfoot: Tibia, Fibula, Talus, Calcaneus.
Joints of the hindfoot: Ankle (Tibiotalar), Subtalar.

Tibia and Fibula (long bones)

The foot is connected to the body where the talus articulates with the tibia and fibula. In a typical foot the tibia is responsible for supporting about 85% of body weight. The fibula accepts the remaining 15%; its main role is to serve as the lateral wall of the ankle mortise (Figure 4). The tibia and fibula are held together by the tibiofibular syndesmosis, a collection of 5 ligaments. The prominence on the medial side of the distal tibia is known as the medial malleolus; the distal aspect of the fibula is known as the lateral malleolus.

Figure 4: Ankle Joint Anatomy


The talus is the top (most proximal) bone of the foot. Because it articulates with so many other bones, 70% of the talus is covered with hyaline cartilage (joint cartilage). The talus connects to the calcaneus on the underside through the subtalar joint, and distally it connects to the navicular through the talonavicular joint. These articulations allow the foot to rotate smoothly around the talus. Owing primarily to the fact that no tendons attach to it and that most of its surface is cartilage, the talus has a relatively poor blood supply. The lack of a robust blood supply means that injuries to this bone take greater time to heal than might be the case with other bones—and some injuries will not heal at all.

The talus is generally thought of as having three parts: the body, the head, and the neck (Figure 5). The talar body, which is roughly square in shape and is topped by the dome, connects the talus to the lower leg at the ankle joint. The talar head is adjacent to the navicular bone to form the talonavicular joint. The talar neck is located between the body and head of the talus. The talar neck is one of the few areas of the talus not covered with cartilage, and is thus the point of entry for the blood vessels supplying the talus.

Figure 5: Talus Anatomy


The calcaneus is commonly known as the heel bone. The calcaneus is the largest bone in the foot, and along with the talus, it makes up the area of the foot known as the hind-foot. There are three protrusions (anterior, middle, and posterior facet) on the superior surface of the calcaneus that allow the talus to sit on top of the calcaneus, forming the subtalar joint (Figure 6). The calcaneus also connects to the cuboid bone to form the calcaneal-cuboid joint.

Subtalar Joint

The talus rests above the calcaneus to form the subtalar joint (Figure 6) slightly offset laterally, towards the 5th metatarsal/small toe. This lateral positioning allows greater flexibility in inversion/eversion (tilting). The subtalar joint moves in concert with the talonavicular joint and the calcaneocuboid joint, two joints located near the front of the talus.

Figure 6: Calcaneal Anatomy

Bones of the midfoot: Cuboid, Navicular, Cuneiform (3).
Joints of the midfoot: talonavicular, calcaneocuboid, intercunneiform, tarsometatarsal (TMT).

(Video) Foot and ankle bones


The cuboid bone is a square-shaped bone on the lateral aspect of the foot. The main joint formed with the cuboid is the calcaneocuboid joint, where the distal aspect of the calcaneus articulates with the cuboid.


The navicular is distal to the talus and connects with it through the talonavicular joint. The distal aspect connects to each of the three cuneiform bones. Like the talus, the navicular has a poor blood supply. On its medial side (closest to the middle of the foot) the navicular tuberosity is the main attachment of the posterior tibial tendon.

Transverse Tarsal Joint

The transverse tarsal joint is not a true joint, but the combination of the calcaneocuboid and talonavicular joints. When these two joints are aligned in parallel, the foot is flexible yet when their axes are divergent, the foot becomes stiff. The shift from a flexible state to a stiff one allows the foot to serve as a shock absorber and as a rigid level in different phases of gait.


There are three cuneiform bones in the foot: the medial, medial (intermediate), and lateral cuneiforms (Figure 7). These bones, along with the strong plantar and dorsal ligaments that connect to them, provide a good deal of stability for the foot.

Bones of the forefoot: Metatarsals (5), Phalanges (14), Sesamoid Bones (2)


Each foot contains five metatarsals, numbered 1-5 medial (great toe) to lateral. The first three metatarsals medially are more rigidly held in place than the lateral two. The metatarsals articulate with the mid-foot at their base, a joint called the tarsal-metatarsal (TMT) joint, or Lisfranc joint. The TMT joint is made stable not only by strong ligaments connecting these bones, but also because the second metatarsal is recessed into the middle cuneiform in comparison to the others (Figure 7). The metatarsal heads are the main weight bearing surface and the site where the phalanges attached at the metatarsal-phalangeal (MTP) joint.

Figure 7: Lisfranc (Tarsometatarsal) Joint


The first toe, also known as the great toe or hallux, is the only one to have two phalanges; the other lesser toes have three. These are known as the proximal phalanx (closest to the ankle) and the distal phalanx (farthest from the ankle). The phalanges form interphalangeal joints between themselves: a proximal interphalaneal joint (PIP) and the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP) (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Joints of the Toes

Sesamoid Bones

In the foot, there are two sesamoid bones located directly underneath the first metatarsal head, embedded in the medial (tibial) side and lateral (fibular) aspect of the flexor hallucis brevis tendon.

Common Ossicles of the Foot

Some feet contain accessory ossicles or accessory bones (Figure 9). These extra bones are developmental variants. Over 40 different ossicles of the foot have been reported. The most common accessory bones include:

Os Trigonum: Found at the posterior aspect of the talar body, this ossicle is connected to the talus via a fibrous union that failed to unite (ossify) between the lateral tubercle of the posterior process. An os trigonum is present in about 10% of the population.

Os Naviculare (Os Tibiale Externum or Accessory Navicular): This bone represents a failure to unite the ossification center the navicular tuberosity (where the tibialis posterior tendon inserts) to the main center of the bone. It is present in about 15% of the population.

Os Peroneum: This extra bone is found within the peroneus longus tendon sheath at the point where it wraps around the cuboid. It has been reported in about 20% of patients.

Bipartite Sesamoid: This condition occurs when one of the sesamoids associates with the great toe fails to ossify resulting in two bone segments connected by a fibrous union. It can be mistaken for a sesamoid fracture. Bipartite sesamoids are seen in about 20% of the population with more than 90% of them occurring in the tibial sesamoid.

Os Subfibulare: This extra bone is seen at the type of the fibula. It can be mistaken for an avulsion fracture. It is seen in 1-2% of the population.

Figure 9: Common Accessory Ossicles of the Foot


The Anterior TaloFibular Ligament (ATFL)

The anterior talofibular ligament (Figure 10) is the most commonly injured ligament when an ankle is sprained. The ATFL runs from the anterior aspect of the distal fibula (lateral malleolus) down and to the outer front portion of the ankle in order to connect to the neck of the talus. It stabilizes the ankle against inversion, especially when the ankle is plantar-flexed.

The CalcaneoFibular Ligament (CFL)

The calcaneofibular ligament (Figure 10) is also on the lateral side of the ankle. It starts at the tip of the fibula and runs along the lateral aspect of the ankle and into the calcaneus. It too resists inversion, but more when the ankle is dorsiflexed.

Posterior TaloFibular Ligament

The posterior talofibular ligament runs from the back lower part of the fibula and into the outer back portion of the calcaneus (Figure 10). This ligament functions to stabilize the ankle joint and subtalar joint.

Figure 10: Lateral Ankle Ligaments

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The Deltoid Ligament

The deltoid ligament is a fan shaped band of connective tissue on the medial side of the ankle (Figure 11). It runs from the medial malleolus down into the talus and calcaneus. The deeper branch of the ligament is securely fastened in the talus, while the more superficial, broader aspect runs into the calcaneus. This ligament functions to resist eversion.

Figure 11: Medial Deltoid Ligament

Spring Ligament

The spring ligament (Figure 11) is a strong ligament that originates on the sustentaculum tali – a bony prominence of the calcaneus on the medial aspect of the hindfoot. The spring ligament inserts into the plantar medial aspect of the navicular and serves to cradle and support the talar head.

Lisfranc Ligaments

The Lisfranc joint complex is a series of ligaments that stabilize the tarsometatarsal joints. These ligaments prevent the joints of the midfoot from moving much, and as such provide considerable stability to the arch of the foot. The plantar ligaments are stronger than those on the dorsal side (Figure 12 & 13). The Lisfranc ligament is a strong band of tissue that connects the medial cuneiform to the base of the second metatarsal.

The Inter-Metatarsal Ligaments

These ligaments run between the metatarsal bones at the base of the toes (Figure 12). They connect the neck region of each metatarsal to the one next to it, and bind them together. This keeps the metatarsals moving in sync. While it is possible to tear these ligaments, it is also possible for them to irritate the digital nerve as it crosses the ligaments creating a Morton’s neuroma.

The 1st MTP joint Capsule of the Great Toe

The connective tissue of this ligament takes the form of a capsule (Figure 12). It goes from the medial portion of the first metatarsal head and stretches to the distal phalanx on the same side. This allows this ligament to stabilize the great toe on the medial side. In the situation where a person develops a bunion, this band gets stretched out, and the great toe changes position and becomes angulated outward.

Figure 12: Plantar Ligaments

Anterior Inferior TibioFibular Ligament (AITFL)

The anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (Figure 4) is positioned on the anterolateral aspect of the ankle joint and serves to helps keep the tibia and fibula together. Injuries to this ligament, so called high ankle sprains, occur when the foot is stuck on the ground while the leg rotates inwards.

The Interosseous Membrane

The interosseous membrane is composed of strong fibrous tissue and runs along the tibia and fibula, and keeps the two bones moving as one unit (Figure 4).

The syndesmosis

The ligament group formed by the AITFL and the interosseous membrane, joined by the posterior inferior tibiofibular ligament, the transverse ligament and the interosseous ligament is known as the syndesmosis. The function of the syndesmosis is to hold the tibia and fibula together at the appropriate distance, thereby forming the mortise into which the talus sits

Muscles and Tendons

There are four muscle compartments in the lower leg (Figure 13) each separated by strong fascia:

  1. the superficial posterior compartment;
  2. the deep posterior compartment;
  3. the anterior compartment and;
  4. the lateral compartment

Collectively the muscles in these four compartments are referred to as the extrinsic muscles of the foot because they originate above the foot in the leg, but insert within the foot.

Figure 13: Muscle Compartments of the Lower Leg

Superficial Posterior Compartment

The superficial posterior compartment of the leg holds the two large muscles of the calf, the gastrocnemius and the soleus, which both run along the length of the leg joining to form the Achilles tendon. Both gastrocnemius and soleus muscles are innervated by the tibial nerve. The gastrocnemius is the more superficial of the posterior calf muscles. It originates above the knee joint, off the posterior femur, and inserts into the calcaneus. The soleus is the deeper of the two muscles of the calf and does not cross the knee. There is a smaller third muscle of the superficial posterior compartment called the plantaris. It is very small and not functionally important in most people (but is subject to injury nonetheless).

Deep Posterior Compartment

This muscle compartment is located on the backside of the leg deep to the soleus muscle. There are three muscles in this compartment, the flexor hallucis longus, the flexor digitorum longus, and the tibialis posterior. All three of these muscles cross the ankle and insert on bones of the foot, the hallux, the lessor toes and the navicular, respectively. They are innervated by the tibial nerve.

Anterior Compartment

The anterior compartment is comprised of four muscles that extend (dorsiflex) the foot and ankle (Figure 14). The Tibialis Anterior, the Extensor Hallucis Longus, the Extensor Digitorum Longus and the Peroneus Tertius. The deep peroneal nerve innervates all the muscles of the anterior compartment.

Figure 14: Dorsiflexors of the Foot and Ankle

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Lateral Compartment

The last of the muscle compartments of the lower leg is the lateral compartment (Figure 15) is comprised of two muscles, the peroneus longus and the peroneus brevis. Both cross the ankle, but the peroneus longus wraps underneath the cuboid crossing the plantar aspect of the foot as well, and inserts at the base of the first metatarsal. The peroneus brevis inserts at the base of the fifth metatarsal on the lateral aspect of the foot. These two muscles work together to evert the foot - move it towards the lateral side. The peroneus longus also functions to plantarflex the first metatarsal. Both of these muscles are controlled by the superficial peroneal nerve.

Figure 15: Lateral Compartment Muscles

Muscles within the Foot

There are a large number of smaller muscles deep inside the foot. They help move the toes and stabilize the foot. Collectively they are referred to as the intrinsic muscles of the foot because they are entirely contained within the foot. Only two of these muscles are located on the dorsal aspect (top) of the foot: the extensor hallucis brevis, and the extensor digitorum brevis. They are both innervated by the deep peroneal nerve. Their primary purpose is to help extend the toes. This is in contrast to the flexor hallucis brevis and flexor digitorum brevis. These muscle tendon units are located deep in the plantar arch and respectively assist in flexing the great toe and the four lesser toes. They are innervated by the medial plantar nerve.

Plantar Fascia

The plantar fascia is not a nerve, tendon or muscle, but rather a strong fibrous tissue (Figure 16). This tissue originates deep within the plantar surface of the calcaneus (heel bone) and covers the distance to the base of each of the five toes. When the foot rolls off the ground during walking, the toes dorsiflex and pull on the plantar fascia. This motion tends to tighten the plantar fascia, and thereby supports the arch of the foot, by maintaining the distance between the calcaneus and the metatarsal heads – a phenomenon known as the windlass mechanism. This stiff and relatively impermeable covering helps to protect the muscles of the sole of the foot.

Figure 16: Plantar Fascia


Nerves of the Foot

There are five main nerves that run past the ankle into the foot (Figure 17). All five of these are derived from two nerves that originate from the lumbar spine. The sciatic nerve branches into four of the five primary nerves of the foot. Two segments of the sciatic nerve branch before the knee joint: the tibial nerve and peroneal nerve. The tibial nerve gives off a branch called the sural nerve. Near the level of the knee the peroneal nerve splits into the deep peroneal nerve and the superficial peroneal nerve. The fifth nerve of the foot originates from the femoral nerve and is called the saphenous nerve.

Figure 17: Major Nerves of the Foot and Ankle

The Deep Peroneal Nerve

The deep peroneal nerve is one of two parts of the peroneal nerve (Figure 17). The deep peroneal nerve runs directly under the head of the fibula. It is responsible for controlling the muscles of the anterior compartment of the leg, and continues down the front of the ankle to the dorsal surface of the foot. It is responsible for the sensation in the small area between the first and second toes, an area known as the first web space. If this nerve doesn’t function, there will be no sensation in this area. If motor function is lost, it becomes impossible to lift the foot upwards, a symptom known as a “drop foot”.

The Superficial Peroneal Nerve

The superficial peroneal nerve is the partner of the deep peroneal nerve (Figure 17). It runs on the lateral side of the leg below the knee under the head of the fibula and innervates the lateral compartment muscles. It runs down over the anterolateral aspect of the ankle and splits into several branches on the dorsal aspect of the foot. The superficial peroneal nerve has both motor and sensory neurons for most of its length, but below the ankle is made entirely of sensory nerves. If motor function of this nerve is lost, it becomes impossible to evert the foot but there is no motor function lost distal to the ankle.

Tibial Nerve

The tibial nerve controls all the muscles behind the tibia and fibula in the back part of the calf (deep and superficial posterior compartment muscles). The tibial nerve continues down into the deep inner part of the ankle and splits into two branches, the medial plantar nerve and the lateral plantar nerve (Figure 17). These two branches provide sensation to the entire sole of the foot, and innervate all the tiny muscles of the sole of the foot.

Sural Nerve

The fourth nerve of the foot is another branch of the tibial nerve, known as the sural nerve (Figure 17). This nerve runs from slightly below the knee to the lateral aspect of the foot. It becomes a very superficial nerve at the level of the posterolateral ankle and continues distally to provide sensation to the outside of the foot. It has no motor function.

Saphenous Nerve

The fifth and last nerve is the only one to branch off from the femoral nerve (Figure 17). It runs from medial aspect of the knee and runs over the anteromedial aspect of the ankle joint to provide sensation to the inside of the foot.

Although the positions of these nerves are generally as described, there is a certain amount of variability in nerve position. They can be located lower or higher than described. These variations must be considered while performing surgery.

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Table of Contents


What is the basic anatomy of the foot and ankle? ›

The midfoot is a pyramid-like collection of bones that form the arches of the feet. These include the three cuneiform bones, the cuboid bone, and the navicular bone. The hindfoot forms the heel and ankle. The talus bone supports the leg bones (tibia and fibula), forming the ankle.

What are 3 common pathologies of the ankle foot? ›

Common ankle disorders include:
  • sprains (injury to ligaments)
  • fractures.
  • tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons)
  • arthritis (chronic inflammation of joints)

What are the main muscles involved in the movements of the ankle joint and foot? ›

The tibialis anterior muscle, found in the anterior compartment of the leg, is the primary muscle that facilitates dorsiflexion of the ankle joint. The peroneus longus and Peroneus Brevis muscles, found in the lateral compartment of the leg, function to facilitate eversion of the ankle joint.

How do you treat foot ligament pain? ›

Symptom Relief
  1. Rest. Stop any physical activity that causes pain, and keep your foot still when possible.
  2. Ice your foot for 20 minutes 2 to 3 times a day. Do not apply ice directly to your skin.
  3. Keep your foot raised to help keep swelling down.
  4. Take pain medicine if you need it.
2 Nov 2020

Why do my ankles hurt so much? ›

The most common causes include injury, arthritis and normal wear and tear. Depending on the cause, you may feel pain or stiffness anywhere around the ankle. Your ankle may also swell, and you may not be able to put any weight on it. Usually, ankle pain gets better with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medications.

What are two of the most common issues at the foot and ankle complex? ›

Five Common Foot and Ankle Injuries
  • Achilles Tendonitis or Tear. The largest tendon in the body, the Achilles connects the two primary calf muscles to the bone in the heel. ...
  • Ankle Sprain. ...
  • Stress Fractures of the Foot. ...
  • Fractures of the Ankle. ...
  • Plantar Fasciitis.
15 Feb 2019

What does arthritis in ankle feel like? ›

Foot and Ankle Arthritis Symptoms

Pain when you move it. Trouble moving, walking, or putting weight on it. Joint stiffness, warmth, or swelling. More pain and swelling after you rest, such as sitting or sleeping.

What is the most common foot pain? ›

Injury, overuse or conditions causing inflammation involving any of the bones, ligaments or tendons in the foot can cause foot pain. Arthritis is a common cause of foot pain. Injury to the nerves of the feet may result in intense burning pain, numbness or tingling (peripheral neuropathy).

What muscle controls foot movement? ›

The main muscles include: Anterior tibial muscle: allows up and down movement of the foot. Posterior tibial muscle: supports the arch. Peroneal tibial muscle: controls movement on the outside of the ankle.

What is the muscle under your foot called? ›

The plantar fascia is the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot.

How do you strengthen your foot muscles? ›

Simple workouts to stretch and strengthen your feet
  1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your left leg so your foot is off the floor and use your big toe to make circles in the air, moving in a clockwise direction, for 15 to 20 rotations.
3 Jul 2012

What's the muscle behind your ankle called? ›

Overview and anatomy

The Achilles tendon is a thick tendon located in the back of the leg. It connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calf to an insertion point at the calcaneus (heel bone). It is the strongest tendon in the body and allows people to push off while walking, running and jumping.

What muscles stabilize the ankle? ›

Peroneals. The peroneal muscles feature two divisions: the peroneus longus and the peroneus brevis muscles. These muscles wrap around the arch of the foot and past the ankle. Combined with the tibialis muscles, the peroneal muscles work to support and stabilize the ankle.

What vitamins help ligaments? ›

Vitamin C: Tendons and ligaments also need vitamin C, a nutrient found in many vegetables and fruits, because both tissues contain large amounts of collagen. Vitamin C plays an essential role in new collagen production, and a Vitamin C deficiency can weaken your tendons and ligaments by preventing collagen synthesis.

What supplements strengthen ligaments? ›

Supplements for Ligaments and Tendons
  • Bromelain. An enzyme from the stem of the pineapple, bromelain might have wound healing properties. ...
  • Curcumin. Curcumin is an antioxidant that inhibits the formation of new blood vessels. ...
  • Gelatin or Collagen. ...
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin. ...
  • Whey Protein.

Which medicine is best for ligament tear? ›

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxyn will help with pain and swelling. Follow the directions exactly. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or feel that you still need them after 7 to 10 days.

What is the fastest way to relieve ankle pain? ›

  1. Rest. Keep weight off your ankle as much as possible. ...
  2. Ice. Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on your ankle for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day.
  3. Compression. Use a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
  4. Elevation. ...
  5. Over-the-counter pain medications.

How should I sleep with ankle pain? › recommends how to sleep with a sprained ankle is by elevating it slightly to drain fluids and prevent unnecessary swelling, so place a pillow or some blankets under the offending ankle while you sleep. Also apply some ice before going to bed to reduce inflammation.

What is a natural remedy for ankle pain? ›

To bring balance and remedy your ankle, just remember RICE — Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate — a simple and established at-home method for ankle pain relief and recovery. Rest to protect your ankles and be sure to stop any activity that causes further agitation.

How do I know if my foot pain is serious? ›

Seek immediate medical attention if you:

Have severe pain or swelling. Have an open wound or a wound that is oozing pus. Have signs of infection, such as redness, warmth and tenderness in the affected area or you have a fever over 100 F (37.8 C) Are unable to walk or put weight on your foot.

What does it mean when your feet hurt when you walk? ›

Plantar fasciitis typically causes the worst pain when a person walks first thing in the morning. The symptoms include stabbing pain in the heel and bottom of the foot, especially when walking and standing.

Which drink is good for arthritis? ›

Tea is one of the best beverages for arthritis patients due to its many health benefits. Green, black and white teas are all rich in anti-inflammatory compounds like polyphenols. Green tea is generally viewed as the most beneficial because of its active ingredient “epigallocatechin-3-gallate” or EGCG.

Does ankle arthritis show up on xray? ›

Imaging Studies

Ankle arthritis can be diagnosed on plain ankle x-rays (Figure 1). X-rays performed with the patient weight bearing will demonstrate: Loss of joint space. This correlates with the loss of joint cartilage.

Is walking good for ankle arthritis? ›

Walking is recommended for people with arthritis as it's low impact, helps to keep the joints flexible, helps bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. If you do experience pain or you're very stiff afterwards try doing a bit less, factor in more rest and check in with your GP, if you need to.

Can foot pain be related to heart problems? ›

Burning or Swelling in the Feet

Sensations of burning or visible swelling could indicate kidney, heart or circulatory problems. Foot Pain and burning in the feet is an indication that your circulation is not functioning well.

What are common foot problems in older adults? ›

Some of the most common foot problems in older adults include bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, ingrown, thickened or discolored nails, diabetic foot conditions, poor circulation, and heel pain. Regular visits to a podiatrist can help you maintain your foot health as you age.

What are the 7 muscles of the foot and ankle? ›

The ankle muscles include the gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, peroneus brevis, flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, extensor hallucis longus and extensor digitorum longus.

What is the side of your foot called? ›

The cuboid is on the lateral side of the foot (outer foot) and sits in front of the calcaneus. The navicular is on the medial (inner) side of the foot, between the talus and the cuneiform bones in front. The navicular forms joints with four bones: the talus and the three cuneiforms.

What is the round bone on your ankle called? ›

A malleolus is the bony prominence on each side of the human ankle. The left leg, with the medial malleolus labeled at bottom right.

How do I get rid of inflammation in my foot? ›

  1. Rest: Stay off the foot or ankle. ...
  2. Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area, placing a thin towel between the ice and the skin. ...
  3. Compression: An elastic wrap should be used to control swelling.
  4. Elevation: The foot or ankle should be raised slightly above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.

Why do I have pain under my foot? ›

One of the most common causes of foot pain is plantar fasciitis , or inflammation of the plantar fascia. This causes sharp, stabbing pains in your heel, or foot pain in the middle along the sole. Plantar fasciitis symptoms are often most severe in the morning, causing the bottom of your foot to hurt when you wake up.

Does walking strengthen ankles? ›

If you can walk up and down hills you increase cardio and will help build stronger muscles in your ankles, legs and feet giving you more stability throughout your everyday life. Walking also helps maintain your bone density.

Does walking help foot pain? ›

Regular, gentle exercises can help loosen up muscles and tendons to get your foot moving normally again and reduce pain. Research has shown that exercises are effective at reducing symptoms in plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and ankle sprains.

How can seniors strengthen their ankles? ›

Here are some foot and ankle exercises that will do wonders for your body.
  • Ankle Circles. One of the keys to maintaining your balance is having strong ankles. ...
  • Heel Stand. Another key to keeping your ankles strong and flexible is regular stretching. ...
  • Butt Squeezes. ...
  • Ankle Pumps. ...
  • Heel to Toe. ...
  • Tightrope Walk. ...
  • Rock the Boat.

What causes pain just above the heel? ›

If you're consistently experiencing pain above your heel, or in the back of your ankle during and after activity, Achilles tendonitis may be the cause. This condition happens when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed, usually due to overuse or when there is a big increase of frequency or intensity of exercise.

How do you treat tendons and ankle ligaments? ›

Treatment of Tendon Injuries

Immobilization using a cast or splint. Oral or injected anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain. Physical therapy for range of motion, strength, and balance. A brace to provide support during activities.

Which are the 3 most commonly injured ankle ligaments? ›

The three ligaments that compose the lateral complex are the anterior talofibular (ATFL), the calcaneofibular (CFL), and posterior talofibular (PTFL) and they tend to be injured in this order with the anterior talofibular ligament being injured most commonly.

What causes chronic ankle instability? ›

Ankle instability is caused by injury to the lateral [outside] ankle ligaments. This usually causes strain or stretch, and in more severe forms, causes a sprain or tear in the ligaments.

How is chronic ankle instability treated? ›

Non-surgical treatments are very effective for many patients with chronic ankle instability and typically include anti-inflammatory medication, wearing a brace and seeing a physical therapist. If surgery is necessary, your surgeon may repair or tighten the ligaments that have been stretched.

Does an MRI show ligament damage? ›

Changes to ligaments and tendons as a result of disease and injury can be demonstrated using both ultrasound and MRI. These have been validated against surgical and histological findings.

What will an MRI show on ankle? ›

MRI can depict ligament injuries and has been used to differentiate ligament tears from other causes of ankle pain, such as fracture, osteochondral injury, or tendon injury. Appropriate treatment planning for ankle injury requires differentiation between the various types of ligament injury.

Why is my ankle in so much pain? ›

The most common causes include injury, arthritis and normal wear and tear. Depending on the cause, you may feel pain or stiffness anywhere around the ankle. Your ankle may also swell, and you may not be able to put any weight on it. Usually, ankle pain gets better with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medications.

What is the anatomical name for the ankle? ›

The ankle, or the talocrural region, or the jumping bone (informal) is the area where the foot and the leg meet. The ankle includes three joints: the ankle joint proper or talocrural joint, the subtalar joint, and the inferior tibiofibular joint.

How many bones are located in the foot and ankle quizlet? ›

26 bones of the foot, tibia, fibula. Ankle is two joints: Subtalar (talus & calcaneus) and Crural joint (tibia, fibula, talus). Ankle joint is shaped like a mortise.

How many bones are in the foot and ankle? ›

Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, all of which work together to provide support, balance and mobility.

What body part is the ankle? ›

The ankle joint connects the leg with the foot, and is composed of three bones: tibia, fibula and talus. The tibia or shin bone and fibula or calf bone are bones of the lower leg which articulate with the talus or ankle bone, enabling up and down movement of the foot.

What causes ankle and feet swelling? ›

Common causes of swollen ankles, feet and legs

eating too much salty food. being overweight. being pregnant. taking certain medicines – such as some blood pressure medicines, contraceptive pills, hormone therapy, antidepressants or steroids.

What are the 7 ankle bones called? ›

The tarsal bones are 7 in number. They are named the calcaneus, talus, cuboid, navicular, and the medial, middle, and lateral cuneiforms.

What are 3 bones of the ankle joint? ›

Ankle Anatomy
  • the tibia, the larger and stronger of the two lower leg bones, which forms the inside part of the of the ankle.
  • the fibula, the smaller bone of the lower leg, which forms the outside part of the ankle.
  • the talus, a small bone between the tibia and fibula and the calcaneus, or heel bone.

What are the 28 bones of the foot? ›

The foot has 28 bones, including 14 phalanges, 7 tarsal bones (talus, calcaneus, cuboid, navicular, and 3 cuneiforms), 5 metatarsals, and 2 sesamoids. The hindfoot connects to the midfoot at the midtarsal (Chopart) joint. The midfoot connects to the forefoot at the Lisfranc joint.

What is the anatomical name for the ankle bones quizlet? ›

Tarsals (the 7 ankle bones)

Why does the side of my foot hurt? ›

Although many mechanisms can be to blame, side of foot pain is often due to overuse, improper footwear, or a combination of both, resulting in injuries including stress fractures, peroneal tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.

Can you walk on a fractured ankle? ›

Many people assume that if you can put weight on the ankle then it isn't broken, however, it is possible to walk on a broken ankle, particularly with a less severe fracture. If you're concerned your ankle may be broken, we recommend contacting your doctor, who can conduct an examination or order and xray if necessary.

What muscle lifts the foot? ›

The anterior tibialis is the muscle that picks up the foot. Although the anterior tibialis plays a major role in dorsiflexion, it is assisted by the fibularis tertius, extensor digitorum longus and the extensor hallucis longus.

What nerves are in your ankle? ›

Your tibial nerve branches off of the sciatic nerve and is found near your ankle. The tibial nerve runs through the tarsal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway inside your ankle that is bound by bone and soft tissue.

What are the symptoms of a torn ankle ligament? ›

If you have torn your ankle ligament, symptoms include:
  • Swelling around your ankle joint.
  • A feeling of instability.
  • Bruising – sometimes up your lower leg and into your foot.
  • Tenderness to touch.
  • Pain when putting weight on your ankle.
  • Popping sound at the time of injury.
17 Mar 2021

What is the bone called on the side of your foot? ›

Cuboid. The cuboid bone is a square-shaped bone on the lateral aspect of the foot.


1. Anatomy and Biomechanics of the Foot & Ankle for Orthopaedic Exams
(Orthopaedic Academy )
(Neural Academy)
3. The Foot and Ankle | Overview of Anatomy, Kinesiology and Biomechanics
(Joel Sattgast)
4. Complete Musculoskeletal Exam of the Foot and Ankle
5. Clinical Anatomy - Lower Limb (Bones), Inguinal ligament, Hip, Knee and ankle Joints
(Armando Hasudungan)
6. Miller's Lectures: Foot and Ankle

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