Metatarsal bones

Metatarsal bones
Metatarsal bones01 - superior view.png
Skeleton of foot. Superior view. Metatarsals shown in green.
Gray291 - Mratatarsus.png
Skeleton of left foot. Lateral aspect. Metatarsals shown in purple.
pl. ossa metatarsi (also: ossa metatarsalia)
Anatomical terms of bone

The metatarsal bones, or metatarsus are a group of five long bones in the foot, located between the tarsal bones of the hind- and mid-foot and the phalanges of the toes. Lacking individual names, the metatarsal bones are numbered from the medial side (the side of the great toe): the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth metatarsal (often depicted with Roman numerals). The metatarsals are analogous to the metacarpal bones of the hand. The lengths of the metatarsal bones in humans are, in descending order: second, third, fourth, fifth and first.[1]


The five metatarsals are dorsally convex long bones consisting of a shaft or body, a base (proximally), and a head (distally).[2] The body is prismoid in form, tapers gradually from the tarsal to the phalangeal extremity, and is curved longitudinally, so as to be concave below, slightly convex above. The base or posterior extremity is wedge-shaped, articulating proximally with the tarsal bones, and by its sides with the contiguous metatarsal bones: its dorsal and plantar surfaces are rough for the attachment of ligaments. The head or distal extremity presents a convex articular surface, oblong from above downward, and extending farther backward below than above. Its sides are flattened, and on each is a depression, surmounted by a tubercle, for ligamentous attachment. Its plantar surface is grooved antero-posteriorly for the passage of the flexor tendons, and marked on either side by an articular eminence continuous with the terminal articular surface.[3]

During growth, the growth plates are located distally on the metatarsals, except on the first metatarsal where it is located proximally. Yet it is quite common to have an accessory growth plate on the distal first metatarsal.[4]


Bones of the right foot. Dorsal surface. Metatarsus shown in yellow. (latin terminology)

The base of each metatarsal bone articulates with one or more of the tarsal bones at the tarsometatarsal joints, and the head with one of the first row of phalanges at the metatarsophalangeal joints. Their bases also articulate with each other at the intermetatarsal joints

Muscle attachments

Muscle attachments (seen from above)
Muscle attachments (seen from below)
Muscle Direction Attachment[6]
Tibialis anterior Insertion Basis of first metatarsal
Peroneous tertius Insertion Dorsal side basis of fifth metatarsal
Peroneous longus Insertion Tuberosity of first metatarsal
Peroneous brevis Insertion Tuberosity of fifth metatarsal
Horizontal head of adductor hallucis Origin Deep transverse metatarsal ligament
Flexor digiti minimi brevis Origin Basis of fifth metatarsal
Plantar interossei Origin Medial side of third, fourth and fifth metatarsal
Dorsal interossei Origin First to fifth metatarsal
Other Languages
العربية: مشط القدم
aragonés: Metatarso
башҡортса: Бәшәләй һөйәге
català: Metatars
čeština: Nárt
español: Metatarso
Esperanto: Metatarso
euskara: Metatartso
français: Métatarse
galego: Metatarso
한국어: 발허리뼈
hrvatski: Kosti donožja
Bahasa Indonesia: Metatarsus
italiano: Metatarso
Latina: Metatarsium
Bahasa Melayu: Metatarsus
Nederlands: Middenvoetsbeen
Nedersaksies: Middenvoutsbain
日本語: 中足骨
polski: Śródstopie
português: Metatarso
русский: Плюсна
Simple English: Metatarsus
slovenščina: Stopalnica
svenska: Mellanfot
українська: Плесно
中文: 跖骨