Toe Bones (Phalanges of the Foot)
What are the Toe Bones, and Where are They Located
Toe bones or phalanges (singular: phalanx) are long, tubular bones located in the toe region of the foot, composing the forefoot. They are analogous to the phalanges of the hand but much shorter than those.
There are 14 phalanges in each foot, with all the toes having 3 phalanges except the great toe (hallux), which contains only 2. So, in total, there are 28 phalanges.
In rare cases, an individual may have two phalanges in their little toe.
According to their position relative to the rest of the body, there are three types of phalanges:
- Proximal: Lies closest to the metatarsals, from where the toes or digits start
- Middle: Located between the proximal and distal phalanges
- Distal: Most terminal of all, lying at the ends of the toes
The second to fifth toes bear all the three phalanges mentioned above, i.e., proximal, middle, and distal. In contrast, the great toe (hallux) only contains a proximal and distal phalanx.
Each phalanx consists of three parts:
- Head: At the ends of the toe
- Neck: In between the head and base
- Base: On the side of metatarsals
Metatarsophalangeal joints: Present between the metatarsals and proximal phalanges
Interphalangeal joints: Formed between two consecutive phalanges
- Proximal interphalangeal joint: Present between proximal and middle phalanges
- Distal interphalangeal joint: Present between middle and distal phalanges
- These bones form the structure of toes.
- They allow the toes to bend easily. Thus, help in diverse activities ranging from walking to jumping.
- They also help to navigate irregular surfaces and maintain balance while walking.