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Leonardo's Foot: How 10 Toes, 52 Bones, and 66 Muscles Shaped the Human World

Discussion in 'Podiatry and Related Books' started by admin, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

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    Leonardo's Foot: How 10 Toes, 52 Bones, and 66 Muscles Shaped the Human World
    Author: Carol Ann Rinzler
    Paperback: 192 pages
    Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press (May 21, 2013)
    Language: English
  2. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Am I missing something... why is it that virtually everywhere refers to the foot as having 26 (52) bones? Why is it that the Sesamoids are nearly always forgotten (try telling this to someone who has suffered from painful Sesamoiditis).

    I feel the Sesamoids are important & should be included in the count i.e. 28 (56) bones. Is this a case of Pluto syndrome for the poor Sesamoids? I once watched an interesting documentary about Pluto's disfellowship, where a small town in America (where the discoverer Clyde Tombaugh resided) submitted a partition to have Pluto reinstated as a planet (I think this is an ongoing issue). Should there be a need for a similar move on behalf of the Sesamoids?


    To me, I think the Sesamoids have a stronger case. In fact it seems that the Sesamoids & Pluto have a bit in common: small, not highly regarded, associated with the underworld (Pluto's mythological meaning; Sesamoids position in anatomy), seem to have a couple status (Pluto has a binary planet or double planet; humans usually have two Sesamoids).

    Anyway, this issue has bothered me a few times in the past... & the above book (with it's title) has urged me to start batting for the poor Sesamoids... & I feel we as a profession should stick up for the little fellas.

  3. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member


    There may be many other sesamoids in the foot but the sub 1st met jobbies are an invariable finding (unless someone has removed them!) The point really is that these bones are truly functional and should be regarded as 'normal' anatomy - hence 28 bones in the 'normal' adult foot (exceptions proving rules).

    Bill Liggins
  4. markjohconley

    markjohconley Well-Known Member

    Yes, been a bugbear of mine for 25 years
  5. Deka08

    Deka08 Active Member

    Does the trouble lie in the fact that a sesamoid is not always a whole, rather can also be bi/tripartite? I agree that they should be included as their function is as essential as the knee cap, but I have a vague and foggy recollection of our lower limb anatomy lecturer mentioning something about the one/two/three parts that makes it different in its quantification and inclusion in the foot bone quota.
    Derek Condon
  6. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    I think that this is one area that the podiatry tail can wag the anatomy dog. When all is said and done, we are the profession which knows more about the foot than any other, and we KNOW (emphasis not shouting) that in the normal foot there are 2 sub 1st met head sesamoids which have an important function. As far as bipartite/tripartite etc is concerned, please see my comment re: exceptions proving rules.

    The 'normal' foot has 28 bones.

    Bill Liggins
  7. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Sesamoids occour all over the appendicular skeleton, however they only occur as funtional entities as the patella and the 1st met sesamoids. Yes there are the Fabellae, but they mean little. Yes there are the sesamoids in the hand, again they mean little. Frankly the only ones with anything functional about them are the patella and the 1st met head. Mind you. the pisiform is big in apes........, they dance on it. Rob
  8. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Leonardo's Foot my foot.

    I should like to protest about the use of the title 'Leonardo's Foot'.

    Following the guidance of the NDSS the correct title of the book should be Leonardo Foot.

    According to the NDSS '..... this is because an "apostrophe s" connotes ownership or possession. Down syndrome (read Leonardo foot) is named after the English physician John Langdon Down (read the artist Leonardo da Vinci), who characterized the condition, but did not have it'.

    Leonardo, like John Langdon Down described, certain physical characteristics in da Vinici's case with a pencil, pen or paint brush. The foot/feet he described did not belong to him.He described or characterised the feet but he did not have them thus the correct title of the book should be 'Leonardo Foot'

    I rest my case.

  9. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Thanks all for the vote of confidence/support for the 1st Met. Sesamoids (28/56 bones).

    Got me to thinking further about the nature of the Sesamoids... & subsequently Pluto - the connection between the two & the reason they suffer identity issues for being bone & planet respectively.

    Hence it could be suggested that there is another element in common between the Sesamoids & Pluto - that being the frequency of other similar objects within their region... which have contributed to demoting their status.

    The following video highlights the issue with Pluto's buddies...

    At least Pluto isn't the constant butt of jokes likes Uranus tends to be.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  10. Deka08

    Deka08 Active Member

    The video points to both the downfall and the redemption of the sesamoids (to use your analogy). As you stated "frequency of other similar objects within their region" summarised the video and highlights the downfall. However,
    The final part of the video "& that science can continue to set the record straight, even when our initial ideas turn out to be wrong." There in lies the redemption of the sesamoids, as we continue to learn, ideas can be changed.
    Now if only there is some sort of gathering, where a heap of foot experts can gather, and confer, and vote on a change.......
    By the way, the use of butt and Uranus together - gold.
    Derek Condon
  11. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    I thought it was worth dropping an e-mail to the publisher to let them know that the foot had two more bones and received the following reply.

    Goldman, Erika
    11 Jun (5 days ago)

    to Leslie, me
    Thanks for your email—we’ll do what we can to make sure the next edition is correct if we go back to press.

    Erika Goldman
    Publisher and Editorial Director
    Bellevue Literary Press
    Dept of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine
    550 First Avenue, OBV A 612
    New York, NY 10011

    Perhaps some of you have already contacted them and perhaps some of you would like to?

  12. markjohconley

    markjohconley Well-Known Member

    Well done Bill, that's far more, response wise, than i've ever got in 25 years!
  13. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Good points Derek... as we research, become more enlightened, not afraid to go where the evidence leads... can we grow. Now we'll see how long it takes for another erroneous area found within the above book gets reassessed - but that particular topic is very controversial & has much baggage attached :butcher: - hence best not highlight here & divert attention from the Sesamoids.

    BTW - :welcome: to Podiatry Arena Derek (I see you're new).

    Well done Bill :drinks (fruit smoothies). It will be interesting to see if they do take this seriously being that the number of foot bones is part of the book's title... I suppose all the more reason for a revised edition: Leonardo's Foot: How 10 Toes, 56 Bones, and 66 Muscles Shaped the Human World [Revised Edition]
  14. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member


    BTW it is a dashed good book

  15. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Couple of good reviews at amazon.com:
    Ian - what did you think of it? (I noticed your tweet a few weeks ago that it had arrived!)

  16. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    I acknowledge that this may say more about me than it does the book, but I did not/am not finding it an easy read. Books that I find an easy read I usually finish in 2 days ('I am the Secret Footballer', 'Bounce', 'Sh*t my Dad says', etc etc). I have owned this book for 40 days and am about half way through. Admittedly I have 3 books on the go at once currently, but on the 6.18am commuter train most mornings reaching for this one over the other two sometimes feels more like a chore than a fun escape. I have to be in a certain mood to pick it up.

    Additionally, if you own other books by or about Da Vinci as I do then do not expect this to be the same with respect to the often regular (and awesome) anatomical drawings. In over 190 pages there is just one. Instead this book is full of words. But they are beautifully strung together and it is incredibly interesting.

    Here's how I would decide if you want to buy/read it or not. If you read Dan Brown's novel 'The Da Vinci Code' and in the short paragraph where he touched on the Vitruvian man and body proportions you thought to youself "thats fascinating, I'd love to delve into that a bit more" then I'd say this book might just be for you. If you didn't, then I can recommend 'I am the Secret Footballer'...

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