Joints of the ankle and foot

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Joints of the Ankle and Foot

Figure 1. Malleolar Mortise.
Figure 2. A. Lateral View of Right Foot showing the Lateral Ligaments. B. Medial View of Right Foot showing the Deltoid Ligament.
Figure 3. Anatomical and Clinical Subtalar Joints.
Figure 4. Lateral View of the Foot showing the Joints of the Foot.
Figure 5. Plantar Ligaments of the Foot.
Figure 6. Arches of the Foot.


Some of us can agree that we love rock and roll.

However, most of us can also agree that we don't love it when we step on a rock, and roll our ankles.

How is that for a segue into talking about the ankle?

Alright, enough of the bad opening lines, let’s discuss the joints of the ankle and the foot!

The ankle joint or tibiotalar joint, is a hinge-type synovial joint located between the distal ends of the tibia and the fibula and the superior part of the talus, which are the three main bones of this joint.

The main articular components of this joint are the trochlea and body of the talus, which articulates medially with the medial malleolus of the tibia and laterally with the lateral malleolus of the fibula.

In a nutshell, the tibia and fibula are bound together by the strong tibiofibular ligaments, and, together, their respective malleoli form a bracket shaped socket, which is covered in hyaline cartilage.

This socket is known as a malleolar mortise and is where the pulley-shaped trochlea of the talus fits.

The malleolar mortise is bounded posteriorly by the inferior part of the posterior tibiofibular ligament, superiorly by the articular surface of the tibia, with the medial and lateral walls being the medial malleolus and lateral malleolus respectively.

The joint capsule of the ankle joint is thin anteriorly and posteriorly but is supported on each side by a series of strong ligaments.

Its fibrous layer is attached superiorly to the borders of the articular surfaces of the tibia and the malleoli and inferiorly to the talus.

By contrast, its synovial layer is loose and lines the fibrous layer of the capsule.

Now, the supportive ligaments reinforce the ankle joint.

Laterally, there’s the lateral ligament of the ankle consisting of three completely separate ligaments which help prevent inversion of the ankle.

First, there’s the anterior talofibular ligament that extends anteromedially from the lateral malleolus to the neck of the talus.


The ankle is a hinge-type synovial joint that involves the distal ends of the tibia and the fibula, and the superior part of the talus. Foot joints are grouped into four major types, which are the intertarsal, tarsometatarsal, metatarsophalangeal, and interphalangeal joints.

The intertarsal joints are found between the tarsal bones, and include the subtalar joint, the talocalcaneonavicular, the calcaneocuboid, the cuneonavicular, the cuboideonavicular, and intercuneiform joints. Tarsometatarsal joints connect the tarsals to the metatarsals; whereas the metatarsophalangeal joints join the metatarsals to the proximal phalanges of the foot. Finally, the interphalangeal joints lie between the phalanges of the foot.


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