How Many Bones Are In The Foot, Actually?

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: May 9, 2022
Image Credit FotoDuets/Shutterstock.com
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The foot is a significant part of the human body necessary for standing, jumping, walking, and running. As common and valuable as the foot is, not everyone can tell the number of bones present in them, not to mention the different foot diseases and how to care for them. In this article, you’ll get to know the number of bones present in the foot.

What Are the Sections of the Foot?

The human foot is divided into the forefoot, the midfoot, and the hindfoot.

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The human foot comprises various anatomical structures, including joints, bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. It is divided into three main parts: the forefoot, the midfoot, and the hindfoot.

The forefoot comprises the phalanges, metatarsals, and sesamoids. The forefoot holds twenty-one bones (two sesamoids, five metatarsals, and fourteen phalanges), but the big toe consists of just the distal phalanx and proximal.

The midfoot, which begins at the transverse tarsal joint, contains five bones, including cuboid, navicular, and three cuneiforms, and ends where the metatarsals start. The midfoot houses several more joints compared to that of the hindfoot. Nevertheless, their mobility is limited.

The third and final part of the foot is the hindfoot which starts at the ankle joint and ends at the transverse tarsal joint. The hindfoot mainly contains two bone types: the talus and the calcaneus, which are two of the seven tarsal bones.

How Many Bones Are In The Foot?

There are 26 bones in the human foot.

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The human foot starts from the lower end of the tibia and fibula, consisting of 26 different bones.

The 26 bones in the human foot responsible for providing structural support are grouped into three parts, namely the tarsal bones (7), the metatarsal bones (5), and the phalanges (14).

The tarsal bones include:

  • Calcaneus: This is the largest of all foot bones, also known as the foot’s heel.
  • Talus: This is the second-largest and irregularly shaped bone, which makes up the lower portion of the ankle joint.
  • Cuboid: As the name suggests, this is a multifaceted, square-shaped bone located in the midfoot.
  • Cuneiforms: These are tiny bones that bond together to function as a unit. There are 3 cuneiform bones, including the lateral, intermediate, and mediate cuneiforms. 
  • Navicular: This curved bone sits between the talus and cuneiforms.

The metatarsal bones are the bones of the forefoot that affix the distal aspects of the cuneiform and cuboid bone to the base of the five phalanges of the foot. There are five metatarsal bones, numbered one to five, from the great toe to the small toe. These bones are extremely important for the origin and insertion of many foot and lower limb muscles. These metatarsal bones contribute to the proximal half of the metatarsophalangeal joints.

The phalanges are found in the hands and toes of most vertebrates and are made up of the distal phalanges at the tip, middle phalanges, and proximal phalanges, closest to the metatarsals.

Types of Foot Fracture

There are different types of bone fractures, each varying depending on the severity and location. The types of fractures include the following:

  • Ankle joint fractures: These fractures, most of the time, are severe and, by default, require immediate medical attention. They go as far as requiring a cast or surgery if the bones are too separated or misaligned.
  • Metatarsal bone fractures: Fractures of the metatarsal bones, located in the middle of the foot, are often not as severe as the ankle joint fracture. For a fact, they do not require a cast, but a stiff-soled shoe may be all that is needed to support and hasten the healing. Sometimes, it requires surgery to correct.
  • Sesamoid bone fractures: With this type of foot fracture, padded soles may only be required to relieve pain.
  • Toe fractures: Fractures of the toes normally can heal with or without a cast.

How Long Do Bones Take To Heal? 

Broken bones generally heal in 6 to 8 weeks.

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The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons revealed that the time frame for the bone healing process depends on the patient’s age, fracture location, and type of fracture. For some lower arm and wrist fractures, healing can take up to 6 weeks or less, but for other severe conditions like leg fractures, healing can take 6 months. However, the bone healing process is faster in children than in adults.

How Can One Speed Up the Healing Process of a Broken Bone?

To help speed up the healing process of broken bone, one must adhere strictly to the following:

1. Proper Nutrition/Diet

The kind of food one eats directly affects the rate at which the bone heals. A 2017 study in the Journal of Osteoporosis revealed that deficiencies in certain nutrients could affect the bone healing time and process. However, to improve the healing time, one should include vitamins, minerals, and calcium in their diet as they are essential to bone health. For speedy healing, it would be best to eat food items that contain the above-listed nutrients. Eating green vegetables, eggs, dairy products, cod liver oil, and certain fatty fish would also be great for boosting bone health.

2. Immobilization

It is essential to keep bone fragments from moving if you want to experience fast and safe healing. Mostly, where complications occur, a cast is used to keep the bone in place, and in some cases, surgeons use screws, plates, or wires in place of a cast. It is imperative to follow the doctor’s orders and limit activities as directed during the healing process.

3. Avoid Smoking and Alcoholism

In simple tense, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption if you drink and smoke because they can impact your bone health negatively.

4. Medications

If you have any underlying health conditions or are probably on medication, you shouldn’t hide it from your orthopaedist because some drugs are known to slow down bone repair.

5. Physical Therapy

Another vital aspect of quick bone healing is a high-quality physical therapy program. Get involved in a physical therapy program; you’ll begin to see the changes in no time.

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