In each human foot, there are five parallel metatarsal
bones that form the front of the instep
. They spread toward the front of the foot to form the ball
of the foot.
Each metatarsal has three parts:
- base: the proximal end of the metatarsal; it articulates with the distal row of tarsal bones.
- body: also known as the diaphysis; it is the slender shaft of the metatarsal.
- head: the rounded distal end of the metatarsal
between the tarsus and the phalanges.
Most of a person's weight is balanced on the first
metatarsals. The first metatarsal (ball of the big toe
) is short and thick, so it is able to withstand a lot of abuse
. There are also two sesamoid
bones beneath it that help. The fifth is not as strong, and is four times more likely to be injured
if it belongs to a woman
(gotta love those high heels).