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The foot is an anatomical structure found in many vertebrates. It is the terminal portion of a limb which bears weight and allows locomotion. In many animals with foot, the foot is a separate organ at the terminal part of the leg made up of one or more segments or bones, generally including claws or nails.

Human foot

The human foot and ankle is a strong and complex mechanical structure containing 26 bones, 33 joints (20 of which are actively articulated), and more than a hundred muscles, tendon, and ligaments.

Study on some Caucasian males (men age 35.5 years) found that a man's foot length was 26.3 cm with a standard deviation of 1.2 cm.

The foot can be subdivided into the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot:

The hindfoot is composed of the talus or ankle bone and the calcaneus or heel bone. The two long bones of the lower leg, the tibia and fibula, are connected to the top of the talus to form the ankle. Connected to the talus at the subtalar joint, the calcaneus, the largest bone of the foot, is cushioned inferiorly by a layer of fat.

The five irregular bones of the midfoot, the cuboid, navicular, and three cuneiform bones, form the arches of the foot which serves as a shock absorber. The midfoot is connected to the hind- and fore-foot by muscles and the plantar fascia.

The forefoot is composed of five toes and the corresponding five proximal long bones forming the metatarsus. Similar to the fingers of the hand, the bones of the toes are called phalanges and the big toe has two phalanges while the other four toes have three phalanges. The joints between the phalanges are called interphalangeal and those between the metatarsus and phalanges are called metatarsophalangeal (MTP).

Medical aspects

Due to their position and function, foot are exposed to a variety of potential infections and injuries , including athlete's foot, bunions, ingrown toenails, Morton's neuroma , plantar fasciitis, plantar warts and stress fractures. In addition, there are several genetic disorders that can affect the shape and function of the foot, including a club foot or flat feet.

This leaves humans more vulnerable to medical problems that are caused by poor leg and foot alignments. Also, the wearing of shoes, sneakers and boots can impede proper alignment and movement within the ankle and foot. For example, high heels are known to throw off the natural weight balance (this can also affect the lower back). For the sake of posture, flat soles and heels are advised.

A doctor who specializes in the treatment of the foot practices podiatry and is called a podiatrist.