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Anatomy of the ankle and foot (MRI) - atlas of the human body using cross-sectional imaging

Antoine Micheau, Denis Hoa

Published on Monday 25 August 2008

SECTION: Musculoskeletal anatomy (upper and lower extremities)

Images and anatomical references

Anatomy of the whole human body : sagittal cross section of the ankle and foot based on MRI showing ankle joint, and tendos (calcaneal tendo, tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis longus and brevis, flexor digitorum longus...)


The cross sectional human anatomic atlas of the ankle and foot is a new tool based on MR images of the human body.
Anatomical structures of the ankle and foot and particular regions (major joints) are visible as dynamic labelled images.


Anatomy of the ankle and the foot on MRI : loading page of this interactive atlas of gross anatomy


Cross sectional anatomy: MRI of the ankle and feet


A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed on a normal subject; with spin-echo T1 weighted images and spin-echo fat-saturated proton density weighted images (3 usual planes used for osteo-articular imaging: axial, coronal, and sagittal).
From our PACS (Picture Archiving and Communicating System), data and DICOM images were exported as JPEG images. Minor changes have been made with Adobe Photoshop, and then, interactivity such as labelled images and dynamic were added with Adobe Flash. This allowed us to develop an atlas-based application with a new functionality and user interface for exploration of the ankle and foot anatomy.


Cross section of the foot with anatomical structures labeled as arteries, muscles (dorsal interossei, plantar interossei, lombrical, extensor digitorum brevus), nerves, ligament, bones...


This module is a comprehensive and affordable learning tool for medical students and residents and especially for physicians, anatomists, rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons and radiologists. It is also a fundamental communication tool to teach patients anatomy and pathology.

It provides access to an atlas and to images in the axial planes, allowing the user to learn and review orthopaedic anatomy interactively. Images are labelled, providing an invaluable teaching resource.

We used the Terminlogia Anatomica to create anatomic labels. This terminology is the international standard on human anatomy (it supersedes the previous standard, Nomina Anatomica since 1998). It was developed by the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FCAT) and the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA).


Anatomy of the lower limb (hip, thigh, knee, leg, ankle and foot): how to visualize anatomic labels


The horizontal menu gives access to groups of anatomical structures that can be chosen by the user:

  •  Bones
  •  Joints
  •  Ligaments
  •  Muscles
  •  Tendons
  •  Fascia
  •  Arteries
  •  Veins
  •  Nerves


Cross sectional anatomy of the ankle with all anatomical structures labeled (here you may see tendos as fibularis brevus, fibularis longus, extensor digitorum longus, tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum longus.


As the cursor is moved over a particular area, that region is highlighted and labelled: anterior and posterior region of the leg, posterior and anterior ankle region, metatarsal region, plantar region.

The vertical left menu provides cross-references and a 3D medical illustration of the foot skeleton.


Tear lines represent the main joints of ankle and foot:

  •  Ankle joint
  •  Transverse tarsal joint
  •  Tarsometatarsal joints


Medica picture of ankle and foot based on 3D model showing bones as tibia, fibula, navicular, cuboid, calcaneus, cuneiform, metatarsals.


The test mode allows comprehensive evaluation of study progress.

Anatomical parts

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