The bones of your foot can be divided into three sections: the forefoot, the mid-foot and the rear foot.
The forefoot – which includes your toes - consists of 5 metatarsals and 14 phalanges. To cope with the weight of your body and to provide balance, these bones can spread out on contact with the ground. The metatarsals end in a rounded portion called the metatarsal heads – these form the ball of your foot.
The big toe has two phalanges, while the smaller toes have three. They give the foot tremendous flexibility while allowing you to grip and feel the terrain beneath you, even while wearing shoes. If you were to lose even a single toe in an accident, it would affect your balance and the way you walk. The mid-foot is made up of 5 small, squarish, chunky bones called tarsals. Positioned very close together, they’re designed to cope with the heavy loads transferred down to your feet with every step.
The rear foot is made up of 2 more tarsals; the talus and the heel bone, which is the largest bone in your foot. The heel bone acts as both a shock absorber and a balancer for the foot. Tarsals and metatarsals combine to form the arches of your foot – essential in providing the springboard effect to propel you forward.