Where Are the Metatarsals?
The metatarsal bones are found in your feet. The foot is made up of the tarsus, or ankle, which consists of seven bones; the metatarsus, which consists of five bones, or metatarsals; and the five free digits or toes. Metatarsals are short and irregularly cube-like in shape. Their surfaces are rough for the attachment of ligaments.
Lacking individual names, the metatarsal bones are numbered from the medial side (the side of the great toe): the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth metatarsal (often depicted with Roman numerals). The lengths of the metatarsal bones in humans are, in descending order: second, third, fourth, fifth and first.
The five metatarsals are dorsally convex long bones consisting of a shaft or body, a base (proximally), and a head (distally). The body is prismoid in form, tapers gradually from the tarsal to the phalangeal extremity, and is curved longitudinally, so as to be concave below, slightly convex above.
The base or posterior extremity is wedge-shaped, articulating proximally with the tarsal bones, and by its sides with the contiguous metatarsal bones: its dorsal and plantar surfaces are rough for the attachment of ligaments. The head or distal extremity presents a convex articular surface, oblong from above downward, and extending farther backward below than above.
Its sides are flattened, and on each is a depression, surmounted by a tubercle, for ligamentous attachment. Its plantar surface is grooved antero-posteriorly for the passage of the flexor tendons, and marked on either side by an articular eminence continuous with the terminal articular surface.
In number and general form they are like the similarly positioned bones of the hand, which are known as the metacarpals. Although the bones of the feet and hand move in a generally similar sort of way there are, of course, important differences. One of the most obvious differences is that in the bones of the hand the thumb has a far greater play of movement than the big toe in the foot.
A joint at the base of the thumb allows many more movements than in the case of the big toe. This “opposable finger and thumb” is one of the physical attributes that has enabled man to reach the peak of the animal “league” table. It is one of the keys to human development.