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What is the Medial Cuneiform?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The medial cuneiform is one of the bones of the foot. It is located approximately in the middle of the inside of the foot and articulates with several key bones. This bone is one of a group of three bones known as cuneiform bones after their distinctive wedge-like shapes. Fractures of the cuneiform bones can occur, usually as a result of sports injuries. Treatments for fractured or bruised bones in the foot can vary, depending on the bones involved.

Also known as the first cuneiform, the medial cuneiform is the biggest cuneiform bone. It articulates with the first and second metatarsals, the long bones connecting to the toes, along with the navicular bone and the second cuneiform. Anatomically, the medial cuneiform is positioned between the navicular bone in the ankle and the metatarsals in the front of the foot.

Numerous bones articulate in the feet to allow for a full range of motion in the foot while distributing standing weight. Humans have somewhat unique anatomy designed to accommodate their habit of walking upright. The feet must be capable of dealing with very high pressure while walking and running, and the bones of the feet have specifically evolved to deal with the high impact stress experienced by the feet during human locomotion.

Bones in the feet can be injured by blows to the feet, as well as falls where the feet are twisted or folded on themselves. People with fractures or bruises to bones like the medial cuneiform can experience difficulty walking and usually notice that their feet are painful and swollen. Redness from inflammation can occur, and the tenderness in the foot can make it difficult to don closed shoes.

Feet are difficult to cast because of their shape and the range of movement required. A fracture of the media cuneiform can vary in severity and will be assessed with an X-ray to explore treatment options. Mild fractures of a bone like the medial cuneiform may heal with rest and a walking cast to immobilize the foot. In other cases, surgery may be required to pin the bone and clean out bone fragments associated with the fracture. One concern with fractures of this bone is necrosis caused by an interrupted blood supply. The longer a fracture is left untreated, the greater the chances of tissue death in the bone as a result of inadequate supplies of blood. It is important to see a doctor for an evaluation after a foot injury to determine whether X-rays to check for fractures are needed.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By Monika — On Jun 27, 2012

I took Anatomy and Physiology when I was in college, and I was pretty fascinated by the skeletal structure of the foot. It's crazy how many bones are actually in the foot! And a lot of the bones are so small, it almost seems pointless. However, it's totally not. All the bones are sized and shaped the way they are for a reason.

There are also a lot of ligaments (such as the medial ligament) and muscles in the foot, and they all work together with the bones. The foot really is a feat of biological engineering!

By ceilingcat — On Jun 27, 2012

@JessicaLynn - It's a good thing your mom made her go see a doctor! It sounds like you can have complications if you ignore a fracture. Although, since it was fractured I'm assuming she would have eventually been in enough pain to actually want to go see a doctor.

Anyway, it's amazing how much one little bone in your foot can hurt. I've never experienced medial cuneiform pain myself, but I did break a little toe a few years ago. The pain was excruciating! Luckily I didn't need surgery, they just taped my little toe to the toe next to it to immobilize it and let it heal. Luckily they also prescribed me some pain medicine to help me deal with the pain of the break.

By JessicaLynn — On Jun 26, 2012

The only reason I know this bone by name is that my sister fractured hers a few years ago! The whole thing was a pretty big to-do, because she ended up needing surgery.

She played soccer in high school, and she hurt herself during a game one weekend. At first she just thought she had a foot sprain, but my mom made her go to the doctor anyway! After they x-rayed her foot, they discovered she had seriously fractured her medial cuneiform. She had to have surgery, and the whole healing process took quite awhile.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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