Metatarsophalangeal joints

The metatarsophalangeal joints (Latin: articulationes metatarsophalangeae) are synovial ellipsoid type articulations located in the foot. They are formed between the metatarsals and proximal phalanges.

Articulating structures of metatarsophalangeal joints

The articular surfaces of the metatarsophalangeal joints include the following:

  • Articular surfaces of the metatarsal heads
  • Articular surfaces of the bases of proximal phalanges

Joint capsule and ligaments

The metatarsophalangeal joints are embraced by fibrous joint capsules attached to the margins of the articular surfaces of all bones. Each joint is reinforced by the following ligaments:

  • Collateral ligaments - strong rounded bands that are located on either side of each joint;
  • Deep transverse metatarsal ligaments - flat and narrow bands that connect the heads of all metatarsal bones;
  • Plantar ligaments - thick and dense ligaments, placed on the plantar surface of the joints between the collateral ligaments.

Movements of the metatarsophalangeal joints

The movements permitted by the metatarsophalangeal joints are:

  • Flexion and extension of the toes
  • Abduction and adduction of the toes