Gae Stultz

Gae Stultz

Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023


In the complex world of human anatomy, the bones play a crucial role in providing structure, support, and protection to our bodies. One set of bones that often goes under the radar are the metatarsal bones, found in the feet. While these bones may not be as well-known as the femur or the skull, they are equally fascinating and deserve our attention. In this article, we will delve into the enigmatic world of metatarsal bones and uncover 12 intriguing facts about them that you may not have heard before. So, put on your anatomical thinking cap and get ready to discover the secrets of these remarkable bones that keep us on our feet!

Table of Contents

Metatarsal bones are commonly known as the long bones of the foot.

The metatarsal bones are a group of five long bones located in the midfoot region, connecting the ankle bones (tarsals) to the toe bones (phalanges). They play a crucial role in supporting body weight and facilitating movement.

Did you know that the metatarsal bones are numbered from the big toe to the little toe?

Starting from medial to lateral, the first metatarsal bone is connected to the big toe, while the fifth metatarsal bone corresponds to the little toe. This numbering system helps in identifying and referencing specific metatarsals.

The metatarsal bones are divided into three distinct sections.

The metatarsals consist of three regions: the base, shaft, and head. The base connects to the tarsal bones, the shaft is the elongated midsection, and the head forms the rounded end closest to the toe joints.

Each metatarsal bone has a unique shape and function.

The first metatarsal bone is the thickest and shortest, providing stability during push-off while walking. The second and third metatarsals are longer and assist in balancing body weight. The fourth and fifth metatarsals are the slenderest and contribute to the foot’s flexibility.

Metatarsal bones can be prone to stress fractures.

The repetitive stress caused by high-impact activities or inadequate footwear can lead to small cracks in the metatarsal bones, known as stress fractures. These fractures are commonly experienced by athletes and individuals who engage in rigorous physical activities.

The metatarsal bones are essential for maintaining arch support.

Together with the tarsal bones, the metatarsals play a crucial role in supporting the foot’s arches. They distribute body weight evenly across the foot and provide stability during walking, running, and other weight-bearing activities.

The muscles in the feet control movement and stability of the metatarsal bones.

Intrinsic muscles located in the foot help control the movement and stability of the metatarsal bones. They are responsible for flexing, extending, and adducting the toes, allowing for precise and coordinated movements.

The shape and structure of metatarsal bones can vary among individuals.

While the general anatomy of metatarsal bones remains consistent, individuals may have variations in size, shape, and alignment. These differences can influence foot mechanics and can be a determining factor in conditions such as bunions or hammertoes.

Metatarsalgia is a common condition associated with metatarsal bones.

Metatarsalgia is a condition characterized by pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot, often caused by excessive pressure on the metatarsal heads. This condition can be exacerbated by wearing ill-fitting shoes or engaging in high-impact activities.

The metatarsal bones have important roles in balance and weight distribution.

By providing a stable base of support, the metatarsal bones contribute to maintaining balance and distributing body weight evenly while standing, walking, or running. They work in conjunction with other anatomical structures, such as the arches and toes, to optimize balance and posture.

Injury to the fifth metatarsal bone is common in sports.

The fifth metatarsal bone, located on the outer side of the foot, is susceptible to fractures and sprains, especially in sports that involve sudden changes in direction or high-impact movements. These injuries are often referred to as “Jones fractures” or “dancer’s fracture.”

The metatarsal bones are interconnected by strong ligaments.

Ligaments surrounding the joints between metatarsal bones provide stability and prevent excessive movement. These ligaments help maintain proper alignment and allow for controlled motions while minimizing the risk of injuries.

Overall, the metatarsal bones play a crucial role in supporting body weight, maintaining balance, and facilitating movement. Understanding their anatomy and function can help in preventing injuries and ensuring optimal foot health.

So, the next time you lace up your shoes or take a step, remember the 12 enigmatic facts about metatarsal bones and appreciate the remarkable complexity of the feet’s foundation.


In conclusion, the metatarsal bones are a fascinating part of the human anatomy. These 12 enigmatic facts about metatarsal bones highlight their importance in providing structural support, facilitating movement, and aiding balance. From their unique shape and arrangement in the foot to their role in absorbing shock and distributing weight, metatarsal bones play a crucial role in ensuring our mobility and overall foot health.Understanding these facts about metatarsal bones can help us appreciate the complexity and functionality of our feet. Whether you are an athlete, dancer, or simply someone who relies on their feet for daily activities, taking care of your metatarsal bones is essential. Proper footwear, maintaining a healthy weight, and practicing good foot hygiene can all contribute to keeping your metatarsals in optimal condition.Remember, our feet are the foundation of our mobility. By appreciating and caring for our metatarsal bones, we can ensure better foot health and overall well-being.


1. What are metatarsal bones?

Metatarsal bones are the long bones located in the middle region of the foot, connecting the toes to the ankle.

2. How many metatarsal bones are there?

There are five metatarsal bones in each foot, numbered from one to five, starting from the big toe.

3. What is the function of metatarsal bones?

Metatarsal bones provide structural support, aid in balance, and facilitate movement by acting as levers for the muscles and tendons.

4. Can metatarsal bones get fractured?

Yes, metatarsal bones can get fractured due to trauma, overuse, or underlying medical conditions.

5. How long does it take for a fractured metatarsal bone to heal?

The healing time for a fractured metatarsal bone can vary depending on the severity of the fracture and individual factors, but it generally takes six to eight weeks.

6. Are there any exercises to strengthen metatarsal bones?

Exercises like toe curls, marble pickups, and walking barefoot on uneven surfaces can help strengthen the muscles and bones in the feet, including the metatarsals.

7. Can wearing high-heeled shoes affect metatarsal bones?

Wearing high-heeled shoes can put excessive pressure on the metatarsal bones, leading to discomfort, pain, and potential long-term structural issues.

8. What is the medical term for pain in the metatarsal region?

Pain in the metatarsal region is commonly referred to as metatarsalgia.

9. Can metatarsal bones be affected by arthritis?

Yes, arthritis can affect the metatarsal bones, causing pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

10. Are metatarsal pads helpful in alleviating foot pain?

Metatarsal pads can provide relief by redistributing pressure and supporting the arch of the foot, which can help alleviate foot pain.