The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of the major joints of the foot and ankle, describing their structure and function. There are 28 bones and 33 joints in the foot and ankle. Some function to support the weight of our bodies, while others are designed to disperse that weight and move us forward. The foot is relatively stable because there is little free movement between the bones of the foot. The foot must absorb the shock of the body weight every time we take a step.
Because there are so many small bones in the foot, and many of them articulate with more than one bone, the names of these joints can get quite confusing. To add to the confusion, different books will call the joints different names. I have tried to include as many of the different names as possible. I recommend reading this article with an open anatomy book, a picture is worth a thousand words.
This joint is made by the articulation between the talus and the distal tibia and fibula. It's also called the mortise joint, due to its strong resemblance to a mortise joint in woodworking. This joint is responsible for most of the plantarflexion/dorsiflexion of the foot, and bears 100% of the weight of the body before dispersing it into the remainder of the foot.
Also called the talocalcaneal joint, this joint is formed by the articulation between talus and calcaneus. The talus sits on the anterior two-thirds of the calcaneus. Through a combination of movements, the subtalor joint provides inversion/eversion of the ankle joint. When standing, the ground restricts the movement of the calcaneus, so subtalor joint motion is critical when weight bearing.
TRANSVERSE TARSAL JOINTS:
Also called the midtarsal joints, there are a lot of different joints in this category. Basically, the midtarsal joints are the transitional link between the hindfoot and the forefoot. This area adds to the motion of the calcaneus (inversion/eversion), and helps the foot transition from weight-bearing to walking. The tarsal joint is very important in the early stance phase of gait. It is the talus and calcaneus articulating with the navicular and cuboid bones, so there are many different names for the joints in this area.
The bones that articulate with the navicular form many joints. It is easier to look at the function of these joints as a whole, rather than specify each individual joint. The navicular bone is at the top of the arch of your foot. This area participates in both hindfoot motion and in midfoot motion. It's two faced - it articulates the talus and calcaneus so on that side it helps inversion/eversion, and articulates with the mid foot which adds to dorsi/plantar flexion.
Tarsometatarsal joint function is a continuation of the transverse tarsal joint - they regulate position of the metatarsals and phalanges (toes) relative to the ground.
These joints make up the balls of your feet. It is where the long bones of your feet (metatarsals) and your toes (phalanges) meet. These joints allow flexion/extension of the toes. When the heel leaves the ground, these joints distribute your weight evenly across the ball of the foot, providing a smooth transition of weight onto the toes.
The toes function to smooth the weight shift to the opposite foot in gait and help maintain stability by pressing against the ground both when standing and walking.
The foot and ankle are very complex structures, working as a unit to support the weight of our bodies, while providing an amazing amount of movement and stability. The more we understand about the bones and joints of the foot, the more we can appreciate what they do.
Having stinky feet can be very embarrassing, especially during warm weather. While everyone else is wearing sandals or flip-flops, a person with foot odor is stuck in socks and closed-toe shoes. People whose feet smell dread trips to the pool or beach, where they will have no choice but to reveal their stinky little secret. Why do some people have foot odor while others do not? Is there a way to address the odor that does not cost much money or require a huge investment of time?
Body sweat is a fact of life and is not an issue in itself because sweat is odorless. Dead skin cells are also a natural occurrence and are usually not an issue. It is the bacteria naturally occurring on the body that is the problem. This bacteria mixes with sweat and dead skin cells to create a very ripe-smelling situation. The odor is caused by an isovaleric acid and on the feet, it carries the medical term of bromhidrosis. None of this sounds very pleasant but fortunately, the situation can be addressed.
The first thing a person suffering from foot odor should realize is that many other people have the same condition. In fact, as many as half of us experience foot odor during our lifetime. Even people who focus on hygiene may find that their feet smell. Normal bathing may not be enough to address the issue. Scrubs, creams, powders, and lotions are available to address foot odor but these are expensive, especially when used for a prolonged period. In addition, many products simply mask the smell, doing nothing to address the cause of the problem.
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outermost layer of skin. Facials, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion use exfoliation to maintain the skin. Far from being a new technique, exfoliation has been used since ancient Egyptian times. A wide assortment of chemicals and equipment can be used to exfoliate skin. In the Middle Ages, people used wine to chemically exfoliate, with tartaric acid serving as the active ingredient.
The practice of exfoliation removes the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. This cleans the skin by unclogging pores and ridding the surface of bacteria. In the process, newer skin is revealed, creating a younger appearance. When exfoliation is performed on the feet, dead skin cells are removed, eliminating one component of the foot odor formula.
By using a foot exfoliating tool combined with soap and water, a person naturally gets rid of existing foot odor and prevents the condition from reoccurring. Exfoliation targets the cause of the problem, creating long-lasting results. Regular foot exfoliation keeps feet smelling and looking great. The skin is rejuvenated and blood flow increases.
When people learn how foot odor develops, they realize it is not their fault. When they learn how to address the issue naturally with exfoliation, they realize they need not be victims of the situation. With regular exfoliation, people who previously had stinky feet can enjoy wearing open-toed shoes and flip-flops.