Metatarsal And Interphalangeal Articulations (Foot And Toes)

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Metatarsal And Interphalangeal Articulations (Foot And Toes)
This is listed under the ankle (on previous page) because of the tendons that run through the foot and the overall structural movement that work in combination with the ankle.

Bones: with slight review

  • Tibia - shin bone of the lower leg
  • Fibula - small outside bone of the lower leg, makes the visible outside of the ankle
  • Tarsals - bones of the ankle which extend to what you might call the center of the foot, including the heel
  • Metatarsals - small (long) bones of the front of the foot
  • Phalanges - toes

Cartilage: There is a thin healthy layer of cartilage between all of the bones of the foot. There is also a joint capsule at the big toe.

Ligaments: The Lisfranc ligaments are all the small little ligaments that are between the tarsals and metatarsals. The Intermetatarsal ligaments holding the metatarsals together. The metatarsosesmoid ligament supports the joint capsule of the big toe.

Tendons: There are a number of extensor tendons that run along the top of the foot puling the foot and toes upwards. Uniquely there are tendinous sheaths that protect the upper portions of the small tendons.

Conective Tissue Support:
Retinacula: This is a band of connective tissue that covers many of the small tendons in the foot.
Plantar Fascia: This is a long band that supports the arch and holds together the muscles and tendons on the bottom of the foot.

Muscles: The Extensor Digitorum/Hallucis Longus are the two muscle on the outside of the tibia which have tendons that pull on the top of the foot. There are also a number of flexors on the bottom of the foot which pulls the toes down.

Mechanics: The extensors pulling the toes up is what initiates stepping forward. Pulling the toes down is what helps stabilize the foot on the ground. Due to the joint capsule at the big toe, its larger size, and its separate muscles it is able to move separately from the rest of the toes and provides the largest amount of support to the foot. It adds extra leverage when the foot is in motion and balance while the foot is still.

Range of motion: The toes are able to extend upwards about 25 degrees.

Usage:

  • The top center of the foot (junction between the tarsals and metatarsals) is often used in moderately strong round house kicks. This joint is comparable to the Metacarpophalangeal Joint (Knuckle) used for punching. For extreme force the shin should be used which is comparable to an elbow strike.
  • The toes are able to be pulled back enough so that the ball of the foot can be used as a striking force with a front kick, this would be comparable to a palm heel strike.
  • The foot can be pulled back so that the heel can be a striking surface for a front kick, back kick, or stomping kick.
  • By inversion (rolling the ankle inwards) the outside of the foot can be used for a side kick.
  • The inside of the foot can be used similar to kicking a soccer ball when doing a scoop or inside crescent kick.
  • Note: All of the above keep the toes, ankle, and bottom of the foot safe from impact as all of these can be seriously injured.
  • In an extended hostage situation the big toe (because of its capsule and multiple muscles) may be used to grab a useful item that may otherwise be out of reach.

Manipulation:

  • After taking an opponent to the ground quickly twisting and snapping the ankle or the big toe can cause a lot of pain and hinder the aggressor from being able to chase you down.
  • A quick and strong heel strike to the top of the foot or on the toes can be very useful in getting out of something like a bear hug where you were very close to the opponent.

Foot Problems: (common)

  1. Athletes foot: Caused by a fungus that likes wet warm crevices of the feet and causes intense itching. Keep feet clean and dry to prevent.
  2. Hammer toe: When the toes are bent together caused by ill-fitted shoes.
  3. Blisters: Caused by ill-fitted shoes or extreme movement while barefoot without developed callouses.
  4. Bunions: Crooked big toe at the joint capsule from trauma, heredity, or arthritis and made worse by ill-fitted shoes.
  5. Corns: Rough skin on the top of the toes from rubbing that constricts movement of the toes.
  6. Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the fascia that stretches from the heel to the ball of the foot, caused by over stretching the fascia.
  7. Claw toes: Curled claw like toes caused by ill-fitted shoes or nerve damage from diabetes that weakens the foot muscles.
  8. Gout: A build up of uric acid in the joint of the big toe, the acid crystallizes and causes pain which is caused by high-purine foods, red meat, seafood, and alcohol.
  9. Ingrown toenail: When the nail of the toe digs into the skin on the side often from ill-fitted shoes or fungal infections.
  10. Alignment problems: Such as high arches, often from natural dispositions.

If you have any of these issues please consult a physician, also properly fitted shoes are very important and will allow you to transition from regular life to the training barefoot in the dojo. If you have alignment issues certain stances in martial arts may be dificult or need to be modified until corrective orthodics have done their job.

For more information regarding the ankle please see the Talocrural Region (Combined Ankle Joint) page.
For information on additional joints please refer back to the Joints page.

References:

  1. Everyday Health http://www.everydayhealth.com/foot-health-pictures/common-foot-problems.aspx#10 added 7/3/15


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