Toe: Difference between revisions

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*[[Fifth toe|Little toe]] (Colloquially known as the ''Pinky toe'' or the ''Baby toe'' in the USA)<ref>[ Physical Rehabilitation Medicine - The Pinky Toe]</ref>
*[[Fifth toe|Little toe]] (Colloquially known as the ''Pinky toe'' or the ''Baby toe'' in the USA)<ref>[ Physical Rehabilitation Medicine - The Pinky Toe]</ref>
==Toe anatomy and physiology==
==Toe anatomy and physiology==sarah&shannon&mason&connell;-)xxxxxxx
{{main|Phalanges of the foot}}
{{main|Phalanges of the foot}}
[[Image:Gray269.png|thumb|Bones of the left [[foot]]. [[Plantar]] surface.]]
[[Image:Gray269.png|thumb|Bones of the left [[foot]]. [[Plantar]] surface.]]

Revision as of 10:01, 20 November 2009

Toes on the foot. The innermost toe (bottom-left in image), which is normally called the big toe, is the hallux.

Toes are the digits of the foot of an animal. Animal species such as cats that walk on their toes are described as being digitigrade. Humans, and other animals that walk on the soles of their feet, are described as being plantigrade; unguligrade animals are those that walk on hooves at the tips of their toes. The toes are, from medial to lateral:

  • Hallux (big toe)
  • Index toe
  • Middle toe
  • Fourth toe
  • Little toe (Colloquially known as the Pinky toe or the Baby toe in the USA)[1]

. ==Toe anatomy and physiology==sarah&shannon&mason&connell;-)xxxxxxx

Bones of the left foot. Plantar surface.
A stubbed pinky toe.

The anatomy of the human foot consists of numerous bones and soft tissues which support the weight of the upright human. The toes specifically assist the human while walking[2], providing balance, weight-bearing, and thrust during the gait. Toe bones articulate around the metatarsal bones which make up the central portion of the human foot. The joints between bones of the toe are known as interphalangeal joints. Movements are generally instigated via tendons actuated by muscles in the lower leg.

The hallux (large toe) is primarily flexed by the flexor hallucis longus muscle, located in the deep posterior of the lower leg, via the flexor hallucis longus tendon. Additional flexion control is provided by the flexor hallucis brevis. It is extended by the abductor hallucis muscle and the adductor hallucis muscle. The remaining toes are primarily controlled by the flexor digitorum brevis muscle and the extensor digitorum brevis muscle. Finally, the fifth toe (the smallest toe) has a separate set of control muscles and tendon attachments, the flexor and abductor digiti minimi. Numerous other foot muscles contribute to fine motor control of the foot. The connective tendons between the minor toes accounts for the inability to actuate individual toes.

Humans typically have five toes. Exceptions include polydactyly (too many toes), and syndactyly or amputation (too few toes). The four smallest toes consist of four phalanx bones, while the largest consists of three phananx bones and two sesamoid bones. Many of the flexor tendons are shared, making it impossible to move individual toes independently; however, some prehensility, or grasping capability, does exist for most humans.

Forefoot shape, including toe shape, exhibits significant variation among people; these differences can be measured and has been statistically correlated with ethnicity[3]. Such deviations may affect comfort and fit for various shoe types. Research conducted by Freedman for the U.S. Army[4] indicated that larger feet may still have smaller arches, toe length, and toe-breadth. Specifically measurable toe and forefoot metrics for humans include[3]:

Each of these metrics has been correlated to particular ethnic groups, but absolute deviations in dimensions are relatively small; such deviations may or may not be practically significant from the ergonomic or comfort standpoint.


A sprain or strain to the small interphalangeal joints of the toe is commonly called a stubbed toe.[5] A sprain or strain where the toe joins to the foot is called turf toe. A bunion is a structural deformity of the bones and the joint between the foot and big toe, and may be painful.[6] Long-term use of improperly sized shoes can cause misalignment of toes, as well as other orthopedic problems.

See also


  1. ^ Physical Rehabilitation Medicine - The Pinky Toe
  2. ^ Janey Hughes, Peter Clark, & Leslie Klenerman. The Importance of the Toes in Walking. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Vol. 72-B, No. 2. March, 1990. [1]
  3. ^ a b Ethnic differences in forefoot shape and the determination of shoe comfort. Hawes, Sovak, Miyashita, Kang, Yosihuku, and Tanaka. Ergonomics, Vol. 37, No. 1, Page 187. 1994. Available at [2]
  4. ^ Freedman, A., Huntington, E.C., Davis, G.C., Magee, R.B., Milstead, V.M. and Kirkpatrick, C.M.. 1946. Foot Dimensions of Soldiers (Third Partial Report), Armored Medical Research Laboratory, Fort Knox, Kentucky.
  5. ^ Your Health - Toe Sprain
  6. ^ American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. "Bunions". Retrieved 2008-03-05. 

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