• 1

    Christman RA: Radiographic anatomy of the foot and ankle: part 1. The distal leg. JAPMA 104: 402, 2014.

  • 2

    Christman RA: Foot and Ankle Radiology, Churchill Livingstone, St. Louis, 2003.

  • 3

    Ebraheim NA, Haman SP, Lu J, et al: Anatomical and radiological considerations of the fifth metatarsal bone. Foot Ankle Int 21: 212, 2000.

  • 4

    Fallat LM, Buckholz J: An analysis of the tailor's bunion by radiographic and anatomical display. JAPA 70: 597, 1980.

Radiographic Anatomy of the Foot and Ankle—Part 4

The Metatarsals

Robert A. Christman College of Podiatric Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, 309 E 2nd St, Pomona, CA 91766. (E-mail: rchristman@westernu.edu)

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The normal radiographic anatomy of the foot and ankle, aside from my previous work, has been addressed only superficially or sparingly in the medical literature. This project correlates the detailed radiographic anatomy of the entire adult foot and ankle (two-dimensional) to osteology (three-dimensional).


Each bone's position was determined after meticulous examination and correlation to an articulated skeleton relative to the image receptor and direction of the x-ray beam, with correlation to the radiograph for confirmation.


Images of each foot and distal leg bone (“front” and “back” perspectives) are presented alongside a corresponding radiographic image for comparison. The normal gross and radiographic anatomy is correlated and described for each radiographic positioning technique.


Foundational knowledge is provided that future researchers can use as a baseline (“normal”) and that students and practitioners can use for comparison when interpreting radiographs and distinguishing abnormal findings. The results of the original project, owing to its broad scope, have been divided into five parts: the lower leg, the greater tarsus, the lesser tarsus, the metatarsals (the focus of this article), and the phalanges.