What is the Calcaneus Bone?

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The Heel Bone

If you suffer from foot pain, you may have heard the term “calcaneus bone”. But what is the calcaneus bone exactly? In plain English, it is the heel bone. It’s that hard bone in the back of the foot that is closest to the ground. If you’ve ever fractured your heel, you know the pain that comes with it as well as the lengthy down time. To add to the possible complications, between your calcaneus bone and the ground you have a layer of tissue called the plantar fascia.

foot diagram

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Fascia is a connective tissue that is all over your body. Have you ever purchased chicken with the skin on and pulled the skin back to see a clear-ish, stretchy substance in between the skin and meat? That’s the fascia. The fascia on the bottom of your foot, or plantar fascia, is a thick band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes. When this tissue becomes inflamed, it can cause a stabbing pain that makes walking difficult or painful. This condition is known as plantar fasciitis.

plantar fascia

So why is it important to know about your calcaneus bone and your plantar fascia? Because once you understand the mechanics of your feet, you can take steps to avoid putting too much strain on these areas, and hopefully keep your feet feeling great.

Some risk factors for plantar fasciitis and foot pain are:
  • Distance running
  • Obesity
  • Long work hours on hard surfaces
  • Having high arches or an abnormal gait
  • Injury or physical trauma
  • Unsupportive shoes or insoles
  • Arthritis

It is so important to take care of our feet because our feet are key to our mobility. If you have full use of your feet and are able to move around without pain, you can consider yourself a lucky person. Foot pain is incredibly common and often ends up affecting so much more than a person’s feet. Foot pain can also affect the way we move our legs, hips, knees, and back, which can exacerbate the muscles and bones in those areas as well.

Thoughtful Steps

As we all grow older, most of us want to move around and maintain our independence as much as possible. So remember when you go for a run, stand for long periods, or purchase that next pair of cool shoes, to be kind to your feet and look for ways to support your calcaneus bone and plantar fascia so that they can support you well into your later years.

You can learn more about ways to help your feet and improve alignment at Protalus, Harvard Health Publishing, and The Cleveland Clinic. And, of course, if you just can’t seem to find relief or something really just doesn’t seem right, talk to your doctor.

Sources: “Fractures of the Calcaneus (Heel Bone Fractures).” Fractures of the Calcaneus (Heel Bone Fractures) - Foot Health Facts, www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/fractures-of-the-calcaneus-(heel-bone-fractures).
“Plantar Fasciitis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 Dec. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354846.
Harvard Health Publishing. “7 Ways to Fix Foot Pain.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/feet-and-foot-care/7-ways-to-fix-foot-pain.
Team, Family Health. “Chronic Heel Pain? 4 Simple Fixes for Your Plantar Fasciitis.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 9 Jan. 2020, health.clevelandclinic.org/chronic-heel-pain-4-simple-fixes-for-your-plantar-fasciitis/.

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