Metatarsal Anatomy

Anatomy of the Metatarsals

The Metatarsals are the bones of the foot present between the heel (tarsus of the foot) and the toes. These are a group of five long cylindrical bones that are collectively called metatarsus. These bones do not have individual names, rather these are numbered from inside to outside. The first one being the inner most one, related to the big toe of the foot. Rest are known as second, third, fourth and fifth metatarsal; each joins with the respective small toe in the front of the foot.

A number of ligaments (bone to bone fibrous attachments) are attached to these bones, holding them in the form of an arch. These bones support and transfer the weight of the body during walking.

Anatomically these bones are divided into three parts:

A base, A head and A body of the bone.

The base refers to the posterior wedge shaped end of a metatarsal bone. The base of a metatarsal is attached to the bones of the ankle of the foot from behind, while on its sides it joins with other metatarsal bones lying alongside.

The body refers to the main extension of the bone from base to head. It is wider towards the base.

The head denotes the front end of a metatarsal bone, facing the toes. It joins the bones of the toes (phalanges) in the front.

Metatarsal bone fractures are common in football players, the cause being faulty design of footwear providing insufficient protection to the foot.

Metatarsals are also prone to stress fractures commonly called March fractures, as these are observed more commonly in soldiers after long marches.