Meet your metatarsal bones! These long bones create length and width in your feet, continuing forward to become your toes. Your metatarsal bones are numbered 1-5 starting with the big toes, working out to your pinky toes. Sometimes these bones are referred to as the "rays" of your feet. You can think of them like rays of light shining forward from your ankle.
The heads of your metatarsals are the parts that touch the floor and form joints with your toe bones. In every day speak, this is called the "ball of your foot". When balancing your weight in standing, or doing an exercise such as bridging that necessitates balance through the foot, it is important to distribute your weight across the heads of all of your metatarsals.
In walking, your foot does a slight roll from outside to inside (see pronation/supination from the calcaneus post). While the calcaneus does a slight outside/inside rock, your weight waves through the metatarsals from 5 to 1 as you move from heel strike to push off. I like to think of my metatarsals being as articulate as a fan or a wave. They not only stabilize and disperse your weight into the ground, but also help your feet to be flexible, pliant, and articulate.
Did you enjoy this post? See more from our Month of the Foot series here!