Bones of the Leg & Foot
 Tibiofibular Articulations

bones of the foot calcaneus collagenous membrane fibula forefoot inferior tibiofibular joint interosseous membrane joints of the foot midfoot superior tibiofibular joint talus the tarsus tibia tibiofibular articulations

Bones of the foot and leg physiotherapy solihull simon evans

The Lower Leg

  • Bones of the lower leg are:
    • Tibia - Weight bearing component
    • Fibula - Non weight bearing component - role is to provide increased surface area for the attachment of muscle and stability to the ankle joint

Tibiofibular Articulations

  • 3 to consider

1. Superior tibiofibular joint

  • Synovial plane joint
  • Between round facet on head of fibula with similar facet on lateral condyle of tibia - both covered with hyaline cartilage
  • Simple capsule lined with SM reinforced by anterior and posterior tibiofibular ligaments
  • Permits anterior and posterior glides

2. Interosseous membrane

  • Collagenous membrane passing from interosseous border on tibia to interosseous border on fibula (continuous with interosseous ligament of inferior tibia / fibula joint
  • Fibres pass downwards and laterally
  • Function:
    • Increase surface area for attachment of muscles
    • Compartmentalisation
    • Allows movement of fibula/stability
    • Allows passage for vessels from posterior to anterior

3. Inferior tibiofibular joint

  • Syndesmosis joint between triangular roughened facet on lower end of fibula and corresponding facet on tibia
  • Joint space filled with interosseous ligament (continuous with IOM)
  • Reinforced by anterior, posterior and transverse tibiofibular ligaments

Compartments of the Lower Leg

  • Divided into 3 compartments by the intermuscular septa (planes of deep fascia)
    • Anterior compartment - very tight containing the dorsiflexors
    • Posterior compartment - containing the plantarflexors - further divided into deep and superficial
    • Lateral compartment containing the peronei (evertors)

Skeleton of the Foot

  • Made up of 26 bones + a variable number of sesamoid bones
  • Divided into the tarsus, metatarsals and phalanges
  • Allows the foot to vary from being a mobile adaptor to a rigid lever

The Tarsus

  • Made up of 7 bones
  • Large bones and very strong and stable arrangement for weight bearing and propulsion
  • Arranged to form the posterior part of the arches of the foot


  • Highest point of the skeleton of the foot
  • Above articulates with the tibia and fibula to form the ankle joint 
  • Divided into a body and head/neck
  • Palpable anterior to malleoli - neck
  • Note: Talus and calcaneus are often collectively called the rearfoot


  • Largest bone of the tarsus forming a lever for propulsion for the calf muscles and posterior pillar of the longitudinal arches of the foot
  • Clearly palpable
    • Also palpate the medial and lateral tubercles (inferiorly)
    • Sustentaculum tali
    • Peroneal tubercle
  • Note: Talus and calcaneus are often collectively called the rearfoot


  • Formed by navicular (medially) and cuboid (laterally) lying anterior to the rearfoot with the 3 cuneiform bone lying anterior to navicular
  • Navicular - identify the navicular tuberosity
  • Palpate cuboid
  • Palpate the 3 cuneiform bones


  • Made up of 5 metatarsals and 14 phalanges 
  • Form a forward lever for propulsion
  • Palptate
    • Base of 5th metatarsal
    • Metatarsal bases and heads
    • Phalanges

Surface Anatomy

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