Longitudinal arch of the foot

Last revised by Dr Yuranga Weerakkody on 02 Feb 2020

The longitudinal arch of the foot is an arch in the sagittal plane formed by the calcaneus and the metatarsals, it can be subdivided into medial and lateral arches (and the comprising osseous structures can be referred to as columns). 

  • runs between the heel proximally and the medial three metatarsophalangeal joints anteriorly 
  • made up of the calcaneus, talar head, navicular, three cuneiforms and medial three metatarsals 
  • pillars:
    • anterior pillar: three metatarsal heads
    • posterior pillar: posterior part of the inferior calcaneal surface 
  • ligaments provide the greatest stability:
    • most important: plantar aponeurosis
      • acts as a tie beam supporting the pillars 
    • spring ligament:
      • supports the head of the talus - if this fails, the highest point in the arch (talar head) will collapse
    • talocalcaneal ligaments and also anterior fibers of the deltoid ligament 
  • muscles:
    • flexor hallucis longus acts as a bow string
    • flexor digitorum longus, abductor hallucis and medial half of the flexor digitorum brevis also contribute but to a lesser extend 
  • made up of the calcaneus, cuboid, 4th and 5th metatarsals 
  • pillars:
    • anterior pillar: lateral 2 metatarsal heads 
    • posterior pillar: posterior part of the inferior calcaneal surface 
  • ligaments;
    • lateral part of the plantar aponeurosis
    • long plantar ligament
    • short plantar ligament
  • tendons:
    • tendon of fibularis longus (most important)
    • lateral two tendons of flexor digitorum longus
  • short plantar muscles:
    • lateral half of the flexor digitorum brevis
    • abductor digit minimi 

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