What Is the Hindfoot or Rearfoot?

The rearfoot contains the two largest bones in the human foot

Foot with the rearfoot bones outlined and labeled. Credit: Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

The hindfoot, sometimes referred to as the rearfoot, is the posterior region of the human foot. This area includes the talus and calcaneus bones; the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the posterior of the foot; and the the subtalar and talocrural (ankle) joints.

Structure of the Rearfoot

The rearfoot contains the largest bones of the foot, as well as the lowest number of bones. The two bones in the rearfoot are the talus, otherwise known as the ankle bone, and the calcaneus, or the heel bone.

The talocrural joint is otherwise known as the ankle joint. It is located between the talus and the tibia and fibula of the lower leg. It is a "hinge" joint that allows the foot to tilt up or forward (called dorsiflexion), and back or downward (called plantarflexion).

The subtalar joint is located between the calcaneus and the talus and allows the foot to roll the foot side to side turning the sole of the foot inward or outward (inversion and eversion).

These movements are often referred to as pronation in the context of walking and running. The term "foot strike" describes the slight inward rolling motion the foot makes as it hits the ground during a normal walking or running stride.

Overpronation and Supination

Common conditions that occur in the rearfoot can result in what is commonly called "overpronation" or "supination" (or underpronation). These abnormalities cause the foot to invert or evert—or "tilt" inward or outward at the ankle—when the rearfoot bears weight.

This is observed in a person's gait. These are generally congenital abnormalities, but are not usually observed at birth; however as a child develops, the deformity becomes more apparent.

Supination and overpronation are quite common and are not normally serious, but they can cause pain in the feet, legs, knees, hips or back.

 

Further Reading

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