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Foot and Ankle

General Anatomy

Bones
Provides structural support for the body and serves as an anchor points for ligaments and tendons.

Ligaments
Ligaments are non-elastic tissues which connect one bone to another bone giving our body structure its stability. When frequently or severely injured, ligaments become "stretched out" causing the joint to become loose or more unstable. Ligaments have a poor blood supply so have a tendency to heal more slowly than other tissues. Injuries to ligaments are called "sprains".

Tendons
Tendons are elastic tissues that connect a muscle to a bone.

Muscles
Muscles are elastic tissues. Muscles and tendons work together to create the body's motion. Injuries to muscles and tendons are called "strains".

Cartilage
Cartilage is the spongy material that lines the ends of the bones. It works as the body's "shock absorber", helping to cushion the impact placed upon the bones during activity as well as directly protecting the ends of the bones. This is called articular cartilage.

Bursa
Bursa are fluid filled sacs that lie between tissues or tissues and bones preventing friction.

Bones

Bones of the Foot and AnkleThe foot and ankle are comprised of 28 individual bones.

  • 7 Tarsals
  • Calcaneus (the heel bone); which is the larges
  • Talus (ankle joint)
  • Navicular (this has poor circulation so is the most often fractured)
  • Cuboid
  • 3 Cuneiform
  • 5 Metarsals (These are referred to as rays)
  • 14 Phalanges (these are the bones in the toes)
  • (2) Tibia and Fibula of the shin that help form the ankle joint.

Ligaments

Black and White Diagram of Ankle Ligaments Ligaments on the outside of the Ankle

The major ligaments in the ankle that are most commonly sprained are located on the outside of the ankle. These are sprained with "inversion sprains".

Black and White Diagram of Ankle Ligaments

  • Anterior Talofibular Ligament
  • Calcaneofibular Ligament
  • Posterior Talofibular Ligament

Ligaments on the inside of the ankle. This is sprained with "eversion sprains"

  • Deltoid Ligament

Bursa

Diagram of Bursae of the Ankle Bursa are fluid filled sacs that lie between tissues or tissues and bones preventing friction. They can become injured from being contused (hit, from falling) or from the increased pressure placed upon them by tight calf muscles.

Nerves

The nerves of the foot and ankle originate at the back and travel down the leg.

Nerve Origins of the Foot and Ankle Major Nerves of the Leg, Ankle, and Foot Sciatica Nerve - Pain Traveling