The metatarsus (Latin: ossa metatarsalia; French: les métatarses) consists of a series of five somewhat cylindrical bones. Articulated with the tarsus behind, they extend forward, nearly parallel with each other, to their anterior extremities, which articulate with the toes, and are numbered according to their position from great toe to small toe. Like the corresponding bones in the hand, each presents for examination a three-sided shaft, a proximal extremity termed the base, and a distal extremity or head. The shaft tapers gradually from the base to the head, and is slightly curved longitudinally so as to be convex on the dorsal and concave on the plantar aspect.
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The cervical vertebrae (french: vertèbres cervicales) are seven in number; they are smaller than those in the other regions, which results from the size of the body and processes being less than that of the corresponding parts in the dorsal and lumbar classes. The vertebral foramen is of a triangular form, and larger proportionally than in the other classes.
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The phalanges of the foot are the bones of the toes, and number in all fourteen. Except the great toe, each consists of three phalanges, distinguished as first (proximal), second and third (distal) ; in the great toe the second phalanx is absent.
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These bones of the coccyx (French: coccyx), when united together, which is usually the case in advanced life, are supposed to resemble a cuckoo's bill and are therefore called coccygeal. Most commonly there are four of them, sometimes but three; in a few instances five have been found. They diminish gradually in size from above downwards, which gives them, when taken together, a pyramidal form. As they are placed in a continuous line with the inferior third of the sacrum, they form a slightly concave surface anteriorly, a convex one posteriorly.
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The ribs extend from the dorsal portion of the vertebral column to the sternum, forming arches, which enclose the lateral parts of the thorax. They are usually twelve in number at each side, but cases occasionally occur in which the number is augmented by the addition of a cervical or a lumbar rib, to which reference has already been made in describing the vertebras of those regions. The number may also be diminished to eleven. I have lately seen an instance in which this diminution was accompanied with the absence of a dorsal vertebra. The seven superior pairs, which are united by means of cartilaginous prolongations to the sternum, are called sternal or true ribs; the remaining five, which are not prolonged to the sternum, being denominated asternal or false ribs.
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The vertebrae, or separate pieces of which the column is made up, are so named from their mobility (vertere, to turn). They are divided into true and false ; the former term being applied to those which remain separate in the adult, and retain their mobility; the latter to such as become united into one mass (viz. the sacrum), or degenerate as it were, and lose all the ordinary characters of vertebrae (viz. the coccyx).
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The sternum, (os pectoris: xiphoides ; French : le sternum) is situated in the median line, at the fore part of the thorax: it is flat and narrow, but not of equal width in its entire extent, being broad at its upper part, then narrowed somewhat, after which it widens a little; finally it becomes compressed and narrow where it joins the ensiform cartilage. Its direction is oblique from above downwards and forwards; and the inclination forwards, together with the curve backward in the dorsal part of the vertebral column, causes a considerable increase in the anteroposterior diameter of the thorax. We have to consider successively its surfaces, extremities, and borders.
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