Toe Bones (Phalanges of the Foot)

What do the Digit Bones do, and Where are They Positioned

Digit bones or phalanges (singular: phalanx) are elongated, tubular bones situated in the toe area of the foot, comprising the forefoot. They are similar to the phalanges of the hand but notably shorter than those.

Digit Bones (Phalanges Foot) X-ray

How Many Phalanges are There in the Foot

There exist 14 phalanges in each foot, with the toes, except for the big toe (hallux), possessing 3 phalanges each. Consequently, the total count of phalanges amounts to 28.

Occasionally, an individual may have two phalanges in their little toe.

Structure and Anatomy

Based on their position in relation to the rest of the body, phalanges fall into three categories:

  1. Proximal: Positioned closest to the metatarsals, where the toes or digits commence
  2. Middle: Situated between the proximal and distal phalanges
  3. Distal: The most terminal, found at the extremities of the toes

The second to fifth toes carry all three phalanges stated above, i.e., proximal, middle, and distal. On the contrary, the big toe (hallux) only contains a proximal and distal phalanx.

Digit Bones (Phalanges of the Foot)

Each phalanx comprises three components:

  • Head: Situated at the ends of the toe
  • Neck: Positioned between the head and base
  • Base: Located at the side of metatarsals


Metatarsophalangeal joints: Present between the metatarsals and proximal phalanges

Interphalangeal joints: Formed between two consecutive phalanges

  • Proximal interphalangeal joint: Located between proximal and middle phalanges
  • Distal interphalangeal joint: Found between middle and distal phalanges


  • These bones constitute the structure of toes.
  • They facilitate easy bending of the toes, thus assisting in various activities such as walking and jumping.
  • They also aid in maneuvering uneven surfaces and maintaining balance while walking.


    1. Phalanges of the foot –
    2. Phalanges of the feet –
    3. Bones of the Foot: Tarsals, Metatarsals and Phalanges –
    4. Metatarsal Bones & Phalanges: Superior View –
    5. Toe Phalanx –
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