A Study in Line and Anatomy: Plantar Muscles of the Foot

Background Information

The foot is known to be a difficult anatomical structure to understand due to the densely packed layers of muscles and ligaments that it is comprised of. The plantar side of the foot alone possesses four layers of muscle. Going from superficial to deep, the first layer contains the abductor hallucis, flexor digitorum brevis, and abductor digiti minimi. The second layer contains the quadratus plantae and lumbrical muscles as well as the tendons for the flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus. In the third plantar layer resides the flexor hallucis brevis, oblique and transverse heads of the adductor hallucis, and the flexor digiti minimi brevis. Finally the fourth and deepest layer contains the dorsal and plantar interossei, as well as the tendons for the peroneus longus and tibialis posterior. 

Project Goals

Illustrating the four layers of plantar muscles, their relation to one another, and their attachments in a cohesive manner were the main goals of this project. The flexor digitorum brevis was intentionally excluded from the illustration in order to show the structures underneath once all of the muscle layers were compiled. This view of the foot was chosen In addition, this project was used not only as a study in anatomy, but in line technique as well. 


Showing all of the muscles in the foot in their respective layers without confusing the viewer was a challenge remedied by focusing on differentiating with the drawing style and form with line. Line with flat color was chosen to illustrate the form of the muscles and tendons to more clearly show the muscles and their attachments. 



Date Started: 10/06/2014
Date Completed: 11/24/2014
Audience: College level anatomy students
Materials: Adobe Photoshop
Final Deliverable: 8.5" x 11" textbook page



Sketches and work-in-progress images of the project during development. The first image is of the chosen foot pose after drafting many different poses and perspectives of the foot. This view was chosen to show the plantar muscles as well as where the tendons of flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus cross the ankle, as this is an important diagnosis point for injuries in this region. The second image shows the skeleton of the foot which was then lined digitally and overlayed over the foot sketch as shown in the third image.