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Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify the main areas and bony landmarks of the calcaneus.
  2. Name the articulations formed by the calcaneus.
  3. List the main muscles, tendons and ligaments attaching on the calcaneus.

Watch video

The calcaneus, also known as the heel bone, is the largest of the foot bones that sits just below the talus. The calcaneus articulates with two bones: the talus and cuboid bone. By articulating with the talus, the calcaneus forms the subtalar joint, while with the cuboid bone, it forms the calcaneocuboid joint. The calcaneus is the site of attachment for many muscles and ligaments. It’s important to note that the calcaneus acts as a short lever for the calf muscles which insert onto its posterior surface via the Achilles tendon, thereby playing an important role in weight-bearing and stability.

To find out everything about the bony landmarks and articular surfaces of the calcaneus, as well as the ligaments that support the joints formed by the calcaneus, check out the video below!

Take a quiz

After watching the video about the calcaneus, you should be ready to embark upon this quiz. Test yourself and solidify your knowledge now.

If you’re up for a challenge, click on the link below to get a preset quiz on the ankle and foot. Or customize your own quiz by choosing the topics you want to be quizzed on.

Browse atlas

Take a closer look at the surfaces and bony landmarks of the calcaneus in the gallery below. 


Key points about the calcaneus
Surfaces Superior, medial, lateral, inferior
Bony landmarks Calcaneal sulcus, sustentaculum tali, groove for the tendon of flexor hallucis longus, fibular trochlea, calcaneal tuberosity, medial and lateral process of calcaneal tuberosity, anterior process of calcaneus
Articulations Subtalar joint: Talus, calcaneus
Calcaneocuboid joint
: Calcaneus, cuboid bone
Attachments Calcaneal sulcus: Interosseous and lateral talocalcaneal ligaments, anterior talocalcaneal ligament (cervical ligament), medial root of inferior extensor retinaculum
Non-articular area
: Extensor digitorum brevis muscle, main band of inferior extensor retinaculum, stem of bifurcate ligament
Sustentaculum tali
: Flexor retinaculum, plantar calcaneonavicular ligament, medial collateral ligament (deltoid ligament), medial talocalcaneal ligament, flexor digitorum longus muscle, tibialis posterior muscle, quadratus plantae muscle
Fibular trochlea
: Calcaneofibular ligament
Posterior aspect of calcaneus
: Long plantar ligament, plantar calcaneocuboid ligament (short plantar ligament), calcaneal tendon, quadratus plantae muscle, plantaris muscle
Medial process of the calcaneal tuberosity
: Superficial part of flexor retinaculum, plantar aponeurosis, abductor hallucis muscle, flexor digitorum brevis muscle
Lateral process of the calcaneal tuberosity
: Abductor digiti minimi

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