Name of bone



The metatarsus consists of the five long bones of the foot, which are numbered from the medial side (ossa metatarsalia I.-V.); each presents for examination a body and two extremities. These are analogous to the metacarpus bones of the hand.

Specifically, the bones are:

  • First metatarsal bone
  • Second metatarsal bone
  • Third metatarsal bone
  • Fourth metatarsal bone
  • Fifth metatarsal bone

Figure 1. AP view of the five metatarsals.

Figure 2. Medial view of the first metatarsal.

Figure 3. Laterial view of the second through fifth metatarsals.

The base of each metatarsal bone articulates with one or more of the tarsal bones, and the head with one of the first row of phalanges.

  • The first metatarsal articulates with the first cuneiform.
  • The second metatarsal articulates with all three cuneiforms.
  • The third metatarsal articulates with the third cuneiform.
  • The fourth metatarsal articulates with the third cuneiform and the cuboid.
  • The fifth metatarsal articulates with the cuboid.

Muscle and ligament attachments

Surface anatomy

  • The body of each metatarsal 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 anterior extremity, presents a convex articular surface, oblong from above downward and extending farther backward below than above.
  • The sides are flattened, and on each is a depression, surmounted by a tubercle, for ligamentous attachment.
  • The 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.


Physical examination




The metatarsal bones are often broken by football players. These and other recent cases have been attributed to the modern lightweight design of football boots, which give less protection to the foot.

Stress fractures are thought to account for 16% of injuries related to sports preparation, and the metatarsals are most often involved. These fractures are commonly called march fractures, as they were often diagnosed among military recruits after long marches.

The second and third metatarsals are fixed while walking, thus these metatarsals are common sites of injury. The fifth metatarsal may be fractured if the foot is oversupinated during locomotion.


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ap foot mt.PNG (image/png)

medial foot mt.PNG (image/png)

lateral foot mt.PNG (image/png)