Basic Foot Anatomy

Our feet do so much – they let us stand, walk, run, and move from one place to another. When they are sore, we rest them and they’re usually back to normal the next day. Here is a short lesson on the anatomy of our foot so we can better understand how to protect our feet and prevent injury or pain.

MUSCLES – We have 20 muscles in each foot. Out of the 20, the main 5 are; the anterior tibial (allows the foot to move up), the posterior tibial (supports the arch), peroneal tibial (controls the outer ankle), extensors (allows you to step), and flexors (stabilizes the toes when you’re standing.) The supporting smaller muscles assist these larger muscles to help your feet and toes move, lift and curl.

TENDONS – The most important tendon is the Achilles tendon. It reaches from the calf muscle all the way to the heel. A healthy Achilles tendon allows you to be mobile and go forward and up and down. The other tendons are also important and connect the muscles to bones and joints.

LIGAMENTS – Ligaments keep the tendons in place and help keep your arch strong. It stretches and contracts allowing the arch to curve up or stay flat. Strong ligaments are important for good balance and foot strength.

BLOOD VESSELS/NERVES – Blood vessels allow the blood to travel throughout your ankles and feet and keep them pumped full of new blood. The vessels also carry out waste. It is important that you stay mobile throughout the day to help assist your blood vessels in doing their job. Nerves are your senses. They tell your brain how to control your feet and ankles and how to feel. They are the reason why you can recognize aches and pains so that you can do something to help relieve the symptoms.

Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been educating and treating patients for all foot and ankle ailments for over eighteen years. If you have any questions, call our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.

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