Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them] | Chapter 33 On the Bones of the Foot

AN ACCOUNT OF THE METATARSUS

A part of the foot [ossa metatarsi] (I-V in fig. 1; h, h to d, e, f, g, and i, i in the skeletons) comes after the tarsus which Hippocrates called the sth=qoj, 80 perhaps after the series of ribs, but other Greeks called it the pedi/on, the Latins planta, and some the pecten and vestigium. Since the Latin words would, if we used them, contribute much obscurity to the narrative on the muscles and descriptions of the vessels and nerves, it will clearly be helpful here too to borrow the name from the Greeks. There is also planum (which some use in translating pedi/on) in this sense, meaning a part of the foot, which is almost never heard.

The metatarsus consists of five bones

The metatarsus corresponds to the metacarpus (I-IIII in figs. 1, 2, ch. 25) of the hand, but it is made up of five bones and not of four as in the metacarpus. In the hand it was needful for the thumb to be opposed to the other digits, and for this reason its first bone is attached to the carpus by a looser joint than the four metacarpal bones. For this reason we have followed Galen in assigning the first bone of the thumb to the digits and not to the metacarpus; we attribute three bones to the thumb as well as to the fingers. 81 The five bones of the metatarsus are attached in a single series to the bones of the tarsus by an identical joint. 82 For since the foot is the organ of walking, a secure stance best suits it, requiring that bones not only of the metatarsus but also of the toes be situated in a single row.

Articulation of the metatarsus to the tarsus

The bones of the metatarsus are articulated to those of the tarsus (surfaces marked i, k, l, a, b) by smooth and only superficially protuberant heads, standing out so obscurely that you could fairly say the bones of the metatarsus are articulated to the tarsus on flat surfaces. The metatarsal bone [os metatarsale I] placed before the big toe is attached to the innermost bone [os cuneiforme mediale] of the tarsus; the one [os metatarsale II] that supports the second toe is attached to the second tarsal bone [os cuneiforme intermedium], the one [os metatarsale III] that supports the middle toe is attached to the third [os cuneiforme laterale], and the two remaining [ossa metatarsi IV-V] are connected to the cuboid bone, just as it has been stated that the metacarpal bones on which the ring and middle fingers [digitus quartus, dig. tertius] rest are attached to the eighth carpal bone [os hamatum] (III, IIII to 8 in fig. 2, ch. 25). And in the same way we have stated an ossicle (N in figs. 1, 2, ch. 25) is placed next to the outer side of the joint by which the metacarpal bone supporting the little finger is bound to the carpal bone, 83 so also an ossicle (m in figs. 1, 2) 84 is seen in the foot placed next to the outer side of the joint [articulationes tarsometatarsales] by which the fifth bone of the metatarsus is articulated to the cuboid bone. Moreover, just as the bones of the tarsus do not end on the same line in the anterior part, so too one bone of the metatarsus is extended farther back than another.


page 149

Where the bones of the metatarsus are connected to the tarsus, they are close together on their sides and thick; at some point they are joined together by arthrodia on flat, smooth surfaces [articulationes intermetatarsales].

Intervals of the metatarsal bones

At the point where they go away from the tarsus toward the toes, they are thinner and at their middle they form intervals [interossei] (n, n in figs. 1, 2) in which is situated the muscular substance [mm. interossei dorsales et plantares] (L in the 15th table of muscles) by means of which the first joints of the toes are flexed. In order for the metatarsal bones to provide a more suitable place for this substance, they are not as sharp and thin in their upper part as where they face the ground.

Articulation with the toes

Where they [ossa metatarsi] are articulated with the toes, they everywhere resemble the metacarpal bones (C and D in fig. 1, ch. 27; look there too for the other joints); they have an epiphysis, and end in a round head (c, c in figs. 1, 2) that enters the depression of the first digital bone [phalanx proximalis]. At the point where it is articulated with the tarsus, the metatarsal bone that precedes the big toe 85 puts forth a process [tuberositas ossis metatarsalis primi] (ϖ in fig. 2) in its lower surface next to the ground, into which the seventh of the muscles [m. fibularis longus] (V, X, Y in the 15th table of muscles) that move the foot is inserted. For a like reason, the metatarsal bone supporting the little toe displays a conspicuous process [tuberositas ossis metatarsalis quinti] (r in fig. 2) projecting to the outside of the foot where it is articulated to the tarsus, into which the tendon of the eighth muscle [m. fibularis brevis] (a, then b in the 15th table of muscles) moving the foot makes its insertion.



Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them] | Chapter 33 On the Bones of the Foot