Toe Vs. Foot

Difference Between Toe And Foot TOE A toe is any of five digits of the human foot. The…

Difference Between Toe And Foot


A toe is any of five digits of the human foot. The toes aid in balance and walking, especially the first, or big, toe. As in the fingers of the hand, the skeleton of each toe consists of three small bones known as phalanges; the big toe is the exception, with only two phalanges. Each of the toes forms a joint with the metatarsal bones of the foot.

The toes are controlled in part by four muscles that originate in the front and back of the leg. The two muscles on the front of the leg cause the toes to extend. The two large muscles on the back of the leg cause the toes to flex. Because the muscles that control the movements of toes cross the ankle joint, they also help flex and extend the foot. The toes are also controlled by 11 intrinsic foot muscles, relatively short skeletal muscles that originate in the foot, many of them on the heel bone, or calcaneus, and attach to the phalanges. These muscles cause the toes to flex and extend, depending on their position in the foot.

The muscles of the foot are controlled by nerves that branch from the sciatic nerve of the thigh (see nervous system). Blood to the foot and toes is supplied by two large arteries in the leg. Numerous deep and superficial veins transport blood back to the heart.


The foot is the end part of the human leg upon which a person stands or moves. It provides a wide, springy base that ensures stability and reduces jarring of the bones of the skeleton, such as those of the spine and hip, when a person is moving.

The foot consists of the ankle, the heel, instep, and five toes. The ankle bones form a joint with the leg bones, permitting upward and downward flexing of the foot. The instep of the foot contains five metatarsal bones. The backs of the metatarsal bones form joints with the bones of the ankle; the fronts, with the bones of the five toes. The heads of these bones form the ball of the foot. Each toe contains three phalanges, except the large toe, which has two. On the underside of the foot, extending from heel to toe, the foot is curved upward, forming the longitudinal arch. Running from side to side is the transverse arch. A weakening of the ligaments that support the arches results in a condition referred to as flatfoot or fallen arches.

Movement in the toes and feet is provided by muscles located in the leg and the foot. These muscles are responsible for the flexing and extension of the toes and movement at the ankle joint. Blood is supplied to the feet by three arteries in the leg. Branches of nerves in the leg terminate on the muscles, joints, blood vessels, and skin of the toes.

The bones and other structures of the feet are subject to many injuries, including fractures, fungal infections such as athlete’s foot (see ringworm), bunions, corns, calluses, warts, chilblains, gout, and gangrene.


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