Connection lost. Please refresh the page.
Get help How to study Login Register
Ready to learn?
Pick your favorite study tool

Tarsal bones

Recommended video: Bones of the foot [16:57]
Overview of the bones of the foot and their divisions into the hindfoot, midfoot and forefoot.

The tarsus consists of 7 bones which form the posterior aspect of the foot. Bones of the tarsus include the calcaneus, talus, navicular, cuboid and cuneiform (medial, intermediate and lateral) bones. 

Tarsal bones of the hindfoot include the calcaneus and talus, while bones of the midfoot comprise the navicular, cuboid and cuneiform bones. The tarsal bones of the foot act as important attachment points for muscles of the leg and foot and aid in maintaining the arches of the foot

The talus forms the connecting bone between the leg and foot. It articulates with the tibia and fibula superomedially and superolaterally to form the talocrural joint (ankle joint) and inferiorly with the calcaneus forming the subtalar joint and navicular to form the talocalcaneonavicular joint. The talus also contributes to the medial longitudinal arch of the foot.

The calcaneus, otherwise known as the heel bone, is the largest of the tarsal bones. It articulates with the talus, navicular and cuboid bone forming the subtalar, talocalcaneonavicular and calcaneocuboid joints. The calcaneus participates in the formation of both the medial and lateral longitudinal arches of the foot. 

The boat shaped navicular bone is located proximal to the 3 cuneiform bones, distal to the talus and medial to the cuboid bone and therefore contributes to the formation of the cuneonavicular, cuboideonavicular and talocalcaneonavicular joints. The navicular bone contributes to the formation of the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. 

The cuboid bone forms the most lateral bone in the distal row of tarsal bones. It is located proximal to the 4th and 5th metatarsal bones, distal to the calcaneus and lateral to the navicular and cuneiform bones. As a result it contributes to the formation of the following joints: tarsometatarsal, calcaneocuboid, cuboideonavicular and cuneocuboid joints. Due to its lateral position, the cuboid bone only contributes to the formation of the lateral longitudinal arch of the foot. 

The final set of bones of the tarsus are the cuneiform bones (medial, intermediate, lateral) which are named after their relative position. These wedge shaped bones each articulate with the navicular posteriorly and their respective metatarsal anteriorly as well as with each other. As a result they contribute to the formation of the tarsometatarsal, cuneonavicular, cuneocuboid and intercuneiform joints. The cuneiform bones contribute to the formation of the medial longitudinal arch and transverse arch of the foot. 

Terminology English: Tarsal bones
Latin: Ossa tarsi
Definition Seven bones which form the posterior aspect of the foot
Bones Talus, calcaneus, navicular, cuboid, cuneiform (medial, intermediate, lateral) bones

Take a closer look at the bones of the foot in the study unit below: 

Tarsal bones: want to learn more about it?

Our engaging videos, interactive quizzes, in-depth articles and HD atlas are here to get you top results faster.

What do you prefer to learn with?

“I would honestly say that Kenhub cut my study time in half.” – Read more.

Kim Bengochea Kim Bengochea, Regis University, Denver
© Unless stated otherwise, all content, including illustrations are exclusive property of Kenhub GmbH, and are protected by German and international copyright laws. All rights reserved.

Register now and grab your free ultimate anatomy study guide!