Metatarsal bones

The metatarsal bones (also known as the metatarsus, Latin: metatarsus, ossa metatarsi, ossa metatarsalia) are a group of five bones in the foot, located between the tarsal bones and the proximal phalanges.

The five metatarsal bones lack individual names and are numbered from the medial side of the foot: the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth metatarsal bone. The spaces between the metatarsal bones are called interosseous metatarsal spaces.

The metatarsal bones belong to the long bones of the human body. Each metatarsal bone consists of:

  • base or proximal extremity,
  • body or shaft, and
  • head or distal extremity of a metatarsal bone.


The bases or the proximal extremities of metatarsal bones proximally articulate with the tarsal bones creating tarsometatarsal joints

Sides of the bases of adjacent metatarsal bones articulate with each other at the intermetatarsal joints

The dorsal and plantar surfaces of the bases serve for the attachment of ligaments.


The body or shaft of each metatarsal bone extends between the base and the head of the bone. The body is prismoid in form, curved longitudinally, concave below, and slightly convex above.


The head or the distal extremity of each metatarsal bone has a convex articular surface for articulation with the base of one of the proximal phalanges. These articulations between metatarsal bones and proximal phalanges form the metatarsophalangeal joints

The sides of the heads of the metatarsal bones serve for the attachment of ligaments.

The plantar surfaces of the heads are grooved anteroposteriorly for the passage of the flexor tendons.