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Metatarsals

There are five metatarsal bones lying in the distal foot. They connect the tarsus and phalanges and form important components of the arches of foot. Like the metacarpals, they are miniature long bones. Their structure consists of a shaft, a proximal base and a distal head. The shafts are slender and taper distally.Their bases articulate with the distal tarsal row and with each other. Their heads articulate with the proximal phalanges.
The characteristic features of each metatarsal bone are presented below.

First metatarsal bone:

First Metatarsal

First Metatarsal

It is the shortest and thickest of all and consists of a strong shaft with a prismatic form. The base of first metatarsal bone articulates with the medial cuneiform while its head articulates with the proximal phalanx of big toe.

  • Blood supply of first metatarsal: The first metatarsal is supplied by the first dorsal and first plantar metatarsal arteries and a superficial branch of the medial plantar artery. The nutrient artery enters on the lateral surface of the mid-diaphysis
  • Nerve supply to first metatarsal: The first metatarsal is innervated by the deep peroneal and medial plantar nerves.
  • Ossification of first metatarsal: It has two centers of ossification. The first is in the shaft (appears during tenth week of prenatal life) and the second in the base (appears during third year). The two centers fuse between the seventeenth and twentieth years. Unlike the first metatarsal, the other four have their second ossification center present distally.

Second metatarsal bone:

Second Metatarsal

Second Metatarsal

It is the longest metatarsal bone. Its base bears four articular facets: one for each of medial cuneiform, intermediate cuneiform, lateral cuneifom and base of third metatarsal. Because of its length and position of its base, it is a common site for stress fractures in athletes.

  • Blood supply of second metatarsal: The blood supply of the second, third and fourth metatarsals follows the same pattern: they are all supplied by branches of the dorsal and plantar metatarsal arteries.
  • Nerve supply to second metatarsal: The second metatarsal is innervated by branches of the deep peroneal and branches of medial plantar nerve.
  • Ossification of second metatarsal: There are two centers of ossification: one in the shaft and one in the head. The center is the shaft appears during ninth week of prenatal life while the one for the head appears during third year. Fusion occurs at about seventeen years.

Third metatarsal bone:

Third Metatarsal

Third Metatarsal

It has a flat triangular base, which articulates with lateral cuneiform, base of second metatarsal and base of fourth metatarsal.

  • Blood supply of third metatarsal: Same as second metatarsal.
  • Nerve supply to third metatarsal: The third metatarsal is innervated by the deep peroneal and lateral plantar nerves.
  • Ossification of third metatarsal: Like the second metatarsal, there are two centers of ossification: one in the shaft and one in the head. The center for shaft appears during ninth week prenatally while the center in the head appears during third or fourth year. Fusion occurs at about seventeen years.

Fourth metatarsal bone:

Fourth Metatarsal

Fourth Metatarsal

It is smaller than the third. Its base articulates with cuboid, base of third metatarsal and base of fifth metatarsal.

  • Blood supply of fourth metatarsal: Same as second metatarsal.
  • Nerve supply to fourth metatarsal: The fourth metatarsal is innervated by the deep peroneal and lateral plantar nerves.
  • Ossification of fourth metatarsal: Like the second metatarsal, there are two centers of ossification: one in the shaft and one in the head. The center for shaft appears during ninth week prenatally while the center in the head appears during third or fourth year. Fusion occurs at about seventeen years.

Fifth metatarsal bone:

Fifth Metatarsal

Fifth Metatarsal

The characteristic feature of fifth metatarsal is the presence of a tuberosity on the lateral side of its base, which can be felt midway along the lateral border of foot.

  • Blood supply of fifth metatarsal: The fifth metatarsal is supplied by dorsal and plantar metatarsal arteries. The nutrient artery enters the diaphysis proximally and medially.
  • Nerve supply to fifth metatarsal: The fifth metatarsal is innervated by branches from the sural, superficial peroneal and lateral plantar nerves.
  • Ossification of fifth metatarsal: Fifth metatarsal has three centers of ossification: one at the base, one in the shaft and one in the head. The center for the shaft appears during tenth week prenatally. The other two centers appear at about three years. Fusion of head and shaft occur at about seventeen years. The proximal base fuses earlier.
Metatarsals:
There are five metatarsal bones lying in the distal foot. They connect the tarsus and phalanges and form important components of the arches of foot. Like the metacarpals, they are miniature long bones. Their structure consists of a shaft, a proximal base and a distal head. The shafts are slender and taper distally.Their bases articulate with the distal tarsal row and with each other. Their heads articulate with the proximal phalanges.
The characteristic features of each metatarsal bone are presented below.
First metatarsal:
It is the shortest and thickest of all and consists of a strong shaft with a prismatic form. The base of first metatarsal bone articulates with the medial cuneiform while its head articulates with the proximal phalanx of big toe.
Blood supply of first metatarsal: 

The first metatarsal is supplied by the first dorsal and first plantar metatarsal arteries and a superficial branch of the medial plantar artery
The nutrient artery enters on the lateral surface of the mid-diaphysis

Nerve supply to first metatarsal:
The first metatarsal is innervated by the deep peroneal and medial plantar nerves.

Ossification of first metatarsal:
It has two centers of ossification. The first is in the shaft (appears during tenth week of prenatal life) and the second in the base (appears during third year). The two centres fuse between the seventeenth and twentieth years. Unlike the first metatarsal, the other four have their second ossification center present distally.
Second metatarsal:
It is the longest metatarsal bone. Its base bears four articular facets: one for each of medial cuneiform, intermediat cuneiform, lateral cuneifom and base of third metatarsal. Because of its length and position of its base, it is a common site for stress fractures in athletes.
Blood supply of second metatarsal:
The blood supply of the second, third and fourth metatarsals follows the same pattern: they are all supplied by branches of the dorsal and plantar metatarsal arteries.
Nerve supply to second metatarsal:
The second metatarsal is innervated by branches of the deep peroneal and branches of medial plantar nerve.
Ossification of second metatarsal:
There are two centers of ossification: one in the shaft and one in the head. The center is the shaft appears during ninth week of prenatal life while the one for the head appears during third year. Fusion occurs at about seventeen years.
Third metatarsal:
It has a flat triangular base, which articulates with lateral cuneiform, base of second metatarsal and base of fourth metatarsal.
Blood supply of third metatarsal:
Same as second metatarsal.
Nerve supply to third metatarsal:
The third metatarsal is innervated by the deep peroneal and lateral plantar nerves.
Ossification of third metatarsal:
Like the second metatarsal, there are two centers of ossification: one in the shaft and one in the head. The center for shaft appears during ninth week prenatally while the center in the head appears during third or fourth year. Fusion occurs at about seventeen years.
Fourth metatarsal:
It is smaller than the third. Its base articulates with cuboid, base of third metatarsal and base of fifth metatarsal.
Blood supply of fourth metatarsal:
Same as second metatarsal.
Nerve supply to fourth metatarsal:

The fourth metatarsal is innervated by the deep peroneal and lateral plantar nerves.
Ossification of fourth metatarsal:
Like the second metatarsal, there are two centers of ossification: one in the shaft and one in the head. The center for shaft appears during ninth week prenatally while the center in the head appears during third or fourth year. Fusion occurs at about seventeen years.
Fifth metatarsal:
The characteristic feature of fifth metatarsal is the presence of a tuberosity on the lateral side of its base, which can be felt midway along the lateral border of foot.
Blood supply of fifth metatarsal:
The fifth metatarsal is supplied by dorsal and plantar metatarsal arteries. The nutrient artery enters the diaphysis proximally and medially.
Nerve supply to fifth metatarsal:
The fifth metatarsal is innervated by branches from the sural, superficial peroneal and lateral plantar nerves.
Ossification of fifth metatarsal:
Fifth metatarsal has three centers of ossification: one at the base, one in the shaft and one in the head. The center for the shaft appears during tenth week prenatally. The other two centers appear at about three years. Fusion of head and shaft occur at about seventeen years. The proximal base fuses earlier.