Learning to identify the different parts of the foot will help you identify to your doctor the exact location of foot pain or other foot-related problems. Also, identifying where you need a little extra support will help you to choose a pair of insoles that is perfect for you.
When broken down by bones, the feet can be broken into in three parts: the forefoot, the midfoot, and the hindfoot.
- The forefoot includes all five toes and the long bones controlling each toe, from the top of the toes to just about the middle of the foot. The forefront bears half of the body's weight and balances so on the ball of the foot.
- The midfoot is where all five long bones come together in the arch of the foot. This is where the plantar fascia is located and this area serves as a shock absorber. It is a small section of the foot.
- The hindfoot connects the midfoot to the ankle. It is, essentially, a hinge, and includes the heel bone -- by far the largest bone in the foot.
Parts of the foot, often used when identifying the exact location of pain to a doctor, can also be broken down by areas. The following defines the areas of the foot:
- The Toes: The five digits on our feet allow us to balance, gain traction, and balance. They also enable us to walk.
- The Ball: The ball of the foot, found right behind the toes, enables walking. When the heel is raised, all of the weight of the body is placed on the ball. The heel and the ball share and split the weight of the body.
- The Arch: The arch of the foot helps balance the weight of the foot and acts as kind of a shock absorber. It also plays a crucial role in propelling the body forward.
- The Heel: The heel is at the base of the leg and posterior area of the foot. It is crucial for balancing weight and walking. Fat cushions the bottom of the calcaneus, or the heel bone, providing a protective layer from the ground to your foot.
If you have an open wound or suspect you may have a broken bone, make sure to seek out a doctor! Many times, doctors will inform you to use orthopedic shoes and/or orthopedic insoles. However, you won't get the right pair of insoles if you are unclear as to the cause of your foot pain. Check out our foot pain identifier for more help identifying foot problems.