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Three curved structures, arch-like in profile, which span the foot. The three arches (medial longitudinal, lateral longitudinal, and anterior transverse arches) are formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones. Together, the arches form a half-dome shape, which is essential for efficient load-bearing and locomotion. The arches distribute about half our standing and walking weight to the heel-bones, and half to the heads of the metatarsals. The shape is maintained by the combined action of foot-bones, the plantar fascia, strong ligaments, and the tension of some muscles. Healthy arches reduce the energy cost of walking and running by storing mechanical energy in their elastic structures during the weight-bearing phases and releasing the energy in the push-off phase.


Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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