AskDefine | Define calcaneus

Dictionary Definition

calcaneus n : the largest tarsal bone; forms the human heel [syn: heelbone, os tarsi fibulare]

User Contributed Dictionary



Eventually from calx.

Alternative forms


  1. The large bone making up the heel of the human foot.


Extensive Definition

The calcaneus, or the heel bone, is the largest bone of the human foot. The skeleton of the human foot is made up of three groups of bones: the tarsus, the metatarsus, and the phalanges. The tarsal bones consist of the calcaneus, talus, cuboid, navicular, and the first, second, and third cuneiforms. The calcaneus forms part of the tarsi and constitutes the heel of the human foot or the point of an animal's hock.


It articulates with two other tarsal bones, the talus above and the cuboid toward the midfoot. It does not articulate with the two bones of the leg (the tibia and the fibula). In addition to receiving the weight of the body with each step, the calcaneus is the anchor for the plantar fascia, which supports the arch of the foot.

Calcaneal tuberosity

The posterior-most portion of the calcaneus is the calcaneal tuberosity, a large, non-articulating process that is the insertion point for the calcaneal tendon (or Achilles tendon). In addition, this process is the origin for some of the muscles and tendons of the foot.


The calcaneus has two articulations, being part of the Proximal intertarsal joint and the Talocalcaneal joint. As in humans it is the insertion of the gastrocnemius and superficial digital flexor tendons. The point of the calcaneus is covered by the calcanean bursa.

See also

Additional images

Image:Calcaneus Fracture.jpg|Calcaneus fracture X-ray

External links

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calcaneus in Catalan: Calcani
calcaneus in German: Fersenbein
calcaneus in Spanish: Calcáneo
calcaneus in Esperanto: Kalkaneo
calcaneus in French: Calcanéum
calcaneus in Italian: Calcagno
calcaneus in Latin: Os calcis
calcaneus in Dutch: Hielbeen
calcaneus in Japanese: 踵骨
calcaneus in Polish: Kość piętowa
calcaneus in Portuguese: Calcâneo
calcaneus in Swedish: Hälben
calcaneus in Ukrainian: П'яткова кістка
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