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Skeletal System



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Quick Facts

Location: Foot.

Bone Type: Short bone.

Key Features: Calcaneal tuberosity, sustentaculum tali, calcaneal sulcus, and anterior, medial and lateral processes of calcaneal tuberosity.

Articulates With: Talus, cuboid bone.

Arterial Supply: Calcaneal anastomosis; medial and lateral plantar arteries.

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Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The calcaneus (heel bone) is the largest of the seven tarsal bones of the foot. It’s somewhat cube-shaped and is found in the proximal row of tarsal bones. The calcaneus is classified as a short bone and includes the following bony features:

- parts: calcaneal tuberosity, sustentaculum tali and anterior process;

- surfaces: dorsal, plantar, posterior, medial and lateral surfaces, and cuboid articular surface;

- landmarks: medial and lateral processes, calcaneal sulcus, and anterior, middle and posterior talar articular facets.

More information regarding these bony features can be found in the Parts, Surfaces and Landmarks tabs for this bone.

The calcaneus is located:

- proximal to the cuboid bone;

- inferior to the talus.

It articulates with the:

- cuboid bone at the calcaneocuboid joint;

- talus at the subtalar and talocalcaneonavicular joints.

The calcaneus contributes to the formation of the medial and lateral longitudinal arches of the foot.


Ossification of the calcaneus occurs at two ossification centers:

- a large center, which forms the majority of the bone and appears in utero during the third month;

- a small center, which is found along the posterior surface of the bone and appears within the sixth to eighth years.

These two ossification centers fuse during the 14th to 16th years (Standring, 2016).


In some individuals:

- both the sustentaculum tali and fibular trochlea may be very prominent;

- several accessory ossicles may be associated with the calcaneus, including the os calcaneus secondarius and os sustentaculi (Standring, 2016).

Surface Anatomy

The following bony features of the calcaneus are relevant to surface anatomy.

- The sustentaculum tali may be palpated as a small prominence located inferior to the medial malleolus.

- The medial process of calcaneal tuberosity may sometimes be deeply palpated along the posteromedial aspect of the foot.

- The lateral surface of the calcaneus is easily palpated as it’s mostly subcutaneous.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Fracture of calcaneus

- Talocalcaneal coalition

- Calcaneonavicular coalition

- Calcaneocuboid coalition

- Haglund’s heel/syndrome


Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41st edn.: Elsevier Limited.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products


ScienceDirect image

The subtalar (talocalcaneal) joint is the articulation between the inferior aspect of the talus and the superior aspect of the calcaneus.

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