Metatarsophalangeal joint

Last revised by Dr Mostafa El-Feky on 09 Jul 2022

The metatarsophalangeal joints (MTPJ) are the articulations in the forefoot between the heads of the metatarsals and the proximal phalanges 1.

Gross anatomy

The metatarsophalangeal joint is formed by the articulation of the metatarsals with their adjacent proximal phalanges. They are condyloid synovial joints which allow for flexion, extension and limited adduction and abduction 2

First toe

The metatarsophalangeal joint of the first toe is stabilized by a capsuloligamentous complex and collection of tendons. The capsuloligamentous complex is comprised of:

  • fibrous capsule
  • collateral ligamentous complex
  • sesamoid-phalangeal ligaments (medial and lateral)
  • intersesamoid ligament
  • plantar plate
  • extensor hood

Additional supporting muscles:

Lesser metatarsophalangeal joints

The lesser (second-to-fourth) metatarsophalangeal joints also have a capsuloligamentous complex which is comprised of 3:

  • fibrous capsule
  • collateral ligamentous complexes (proper and accessory)
  • plantar plate: rectangular/trapezoidal fibrous disc that originates from the metatarsal shaft periosteum to the proximal phalanx 4

Additional supporting muscles:

Related pathology

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: first MTPJ anatomy
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  • Figure 2: histology
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