Foot Facts -- Three Arches of the Foot

The bones provide the framework around which the ligaments, tendons and muscles form the supporting structure of the foot.

The largest longitudinal arch is the Medial Arch. It is located on the inside of the foot and is typically described as "Flat", "Normal" or "High" (see Foot Facts Medial Arch Types for more information).

The Lateral Arch is the smaller of the two longitudinal arches and is found on the outside part of the sole.

The Metatarsal Arch is the primary transverse arch. This arch created by the Metatarsals is not as obvious as the large Medial Arch, but without support it too can cause painful injuries such as Metatarsalgia.

Footwear with good arch support, especially in the Medial and Metatarsal Arches, can help people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis or Metatarsalgia

Wearing supportive footwear can also help prevent foot ailments. Finn Comfort and Birkenstock footbeds provide excellent Medial, Lateral and Metatarsal Arch support.

Supportive footwear like Birkenstock or Finn Comfort also have desired features like a wide toebox and a broad, stable sole which can help people suffering from Morton's Neuroma, Hammer toe, or Bunions.

Bones of the Foot

The Phalanges (toe bones) provide balance, weight-bearing, and thrust while standing, walking, or running. Narrow, pointed footwear can cause painful deformities of the toes, such as Bunions.

The Metatarsals carry a large amount of weight while standing and especially during the push-off part of walking or running.

High heels and footwear without adequate Metatarsal Arch support can aggrevate the connective tissue area around the metatarsal bones causing pain in the ball of the foot (Metatarsalgia). Footwear with good Metatarsal Arch support, such as Birkenstock and


Cuneiform, Cuboid, and Navicular bones are large and perform a weight-bearing function. Footwear with good Medial Arch support can help stabilize these structures and prevent pain or injury.

The Talus and Calcaneum form the heel area of the foot and bear a large portion of the body's weight. The Talus forms the connection between the Tibia and Fibula (lower leg) and the foot. Achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, and Plantar Fasciitis are all ailments related to inflammation of tendons or ligaments which attach to the Calcaneum. Footwear that properly supports the Medial Arch can reduce or prevent heel pain.

The bones which make up the Medial Arch include the first three digits, their Metatarsals, the Cuneiforms, the Navicular, and the Talus. The bones which make up the Lateral Arch include the 4th and 5th digits, their Metatarsals, the Cuboid, and the Calcaneum.

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Names of Bones (left)

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