It’s almost Halloween and skeleton decorations are appearing everywhere. Did you know that the foot contains 26 bones? That’s 52 bones if you count both feet. And those 52 bones comprise about 25% of all the bones in your body.
Besides these bones, your foot and ankle contains 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons that provide your body with support, balance and mobility in a variety of ways.
Anatomy of the Foot
The foot is divided into three parts:
- Hindfoot – The hindfoot makes up the heel and ankle. Two bones, the calcaneus and the talus, form the hindfoot. The calcaneus or heel bone is the largest bone in the foot. The talus, a small bone located above the calcaneus, supports the tibia and fibula bones of the lower leg and forms the ankle.
- Midfoot – The midfoot is composed of five small bones – the navicular, cuboid, and three cuneiform bones – that form the arches of the feet. Muscles and the plantar fascia connect the midfoot to the hindfoot.
- Forefoot – The forefoot is the largest part of the foot and contains the five toes or phalanges. The big toe is comprised of two phalanges; while the other four toes each have three phalanges. Five longer bones called the metatarsals are located between the phalanges and the tarsal bones of the hind- and mid-foot.
The foot also contains small pebble-like bones called sesamoid bones located under the 1st metatarsal-phalangeal joint, which are often called accessory bones since they’re embedded into tendons connecting the joints.
A broken foot or ankle is a common injury. Factures can range from small cracks in a bone to bones that shatter into pieces, piercing the skin. Two types of foot fractures are stress fractures and calcaneus fractures.
Stress fractures are generally caused by overuse. When the muscles become fatigued or overloaded, they can’t absorb the stress and shock from repeated impact on the foot. This stress is then transferred to the bone where small cracks can occur over time. Stress fractures are common to the second and fifth metatarsals, and can also occur in the calcaneus.
Calcaneus fractures are usually the result of a traumatic injury, such as a fall from a ladder or a car accident.
Common Causes of Fractures and Breaks
- Overuse – Stress fractures are caused from overuse due to repeated stress on the bones in your ankles or feet, such as from playing sports or dancing.
- Direct impact – Dropping something heavy on your foot can result in a fracture. High-impact sports can also cause a bone to break due to direct impact with another player, the ground or equipment. Also, car accidents can cause crushing injuries to your bones.
- Missteps – Factures can happen when you stub your toe on furniture or you accidentally kick something hard. Also, you can break a bone when making quick twisting movements, especially when playing sports.
- Falls – When you trip and fall, or jump down from a great height, you can break your ankle or foot bones.
- Old Age – As the ageing process occurs bones become soft and brittle. Conditions such as arthritis and osteoporoses lead to a thinning and weakening of the bones too. This can easily lead to stress fractures and broken bones.
Risk Factors for Fractures
The following factors can increase your risk of fracturing your feet or ankles:
- Performing high-impact sports, such as football, basketball, tennis, track and field, gymnastics, volleyball, tennis, or running.
- Using improper sports equipment, such as improperly fitted or worn shoes.
- Not stretching or warming up properly prior to performing sports or dancing.
- Working in certain occupations, such as dancers, soldiers who frequently march, or construction workers who may fall from a height or drop something heavy on their feet.
- Having a medical condition that weakens the bones, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, eating disorders, or an irregular menstrual cycle. Or from taking medications that decrease bone density, making the bones susceptible to stress fractures.
While a custom foot orthotic cannot prevent a fracture, it can reduce your risk. However, an accommodative orthotic that is worn long term for several years can actually create atrophy of the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the feet, because it reduces motion. A biomechanically driven, functional, custom orthotic – one that is designed to redirect how the foot wants to operate without support – can and will promote proper biomechanical motion. Function is motion, and motion is health. It will be like exercising the foot daily and will increase its health over time. Therefore, a functional custom orthotic, like the ezWalker® Performance Insole, will help to dramatically reduce the risk of fractures due to the increase in the foot’s overall functional health.
The ezWalker® Performance Insole also helps to relieve pain if you suffer from common foot conditions, like bunions, plantar fasciitis, or arch strain. For more information, visit our website. Or, shop now to order yours today. We offer a 90-day money-back guarantee. So, what do you have to lose, but your pain?
Remember … When your feet feel good, you feel good.