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Metatarsals are part of the bones of the mid-foot and are tubular in shape. They are named by numbers and start from the medial side outward. The medial side is the same side as the big toe.

They are called the first metatarsal, second metatarsal, third metatarsal, fourth metatarsal, and the fifth metatarsal. The first metatarsal is the strongest of the group.

These bones are found between the phalanges of the toes and the tarsal bones. Each bone's base will move with at least one of the tarsal bones where the tarsometatarsal joint is located. The metatarsal bones are connected to the bones of the toe, or phalanges, at the knuckle of the toe, or metatarsophalangeal joint.

Metatarsals are convex in shape (arch upward), are long bones, and give the foot its arch. They work with connective tissues, ligaments and tendons, to provide movement in the foot.

These bones can become fractured, strained, or inflamed from misuse or overuse. Immobilization of the foot (e.g. via casting) can help heal metatarsal fractures and sprains.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Metatarsals

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