Introduction to the leg and ankle | Acland's Video Atlas of Human Anatomy Skip to main content
2.3.1 Introduction to the leg and ankle


In this section we’ll go from the knee, to a little below the ankle. We’ll start by looking at the bones and the joints of the ankle region. Then we’ll look at the muscles which produce movements at those joints. Lastly we’ll look at the blood vessels and nerves of the region.

Before we start, we need to understand the meaning of some anatomic terms regarding the foot and its movements. The upper and lower surfaces of the foot are called the dorsal surface, and plantar surface. This part of the foot is called the tarsus, these bones are the tarsal bones. The long bones in front of them are the metatarsals.

We’ll be looking at two sets of movements, which happen in two different places. The upward and downward movements, that occur at the ankle joint itself, are called dorsi-flexion, and plantar flexion.

The side to side rocking movements that occur at the joints just below the ankle are called eversion, for turning outward, and inversion, for turning inward. Lastly, speaking of definitions, you'll recall that “the leg” in anatomy means just the part of the lower extremity that's between the knee and the ankle.

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