The cuboid bone is one of the bones on the lateral side of the foot, also known as the outside of the foot. The bone plays a key role in the stability of the foot and the jointing of the foot and ankle. As the name implies, this bone is cube-shaped, and in fact, knucklebones, the original dice, used the cuboid bones from animal feet. When rolled, knucklebones would eventually settle on one side, and markings could be used to assign a value or action to the side facing up.
The back part of the cuboid bone articulates with the calcaneous bone to form the calcaneocuboid joint. In the front, the cuboid meets up with the fourth and fifth metatarsals, two long bones which articulate with the toes. One important role of this bone is as a stabilizer to keep the outside of the foot stable, allowing people to walk with confidence. Bipedal walking is actually a bit challenging, and the articulation of the bones in the feet is key to distributing the weight of the body so that people can walk comfortably.
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One problem which can emerge with the cuboid bone is subluxation, in which the bone is pushed downward and out of place. People with subluxation of this bone, also known as cuboid syndrome, experience a dull ache along the middle of the outside of the foot. They may find that it's difficult to put weight on the foot, and the pain does not go away with rest or elevation. This condition can be treated with repositioning of the bone, padding, and bracing to keep the foot stable while the foot heals.
The cuboid bone can also become broken, usually through dancing, heavy physical activity, or severe trauma to the foot. A broken cuboid can be tricky to diagnose without the assistance of advanced medical imaging such as an MRI, as the break may remain concealed on a basic foot x-ray. Breaks are treated with casting and walking boots to keep weight off lateral side of the foot while the cuboid bone heals.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether foot pain is from a breakage or from a lesser problem like inflammation. A podiatrist, a doctor who specializes in foot care, can examine the foot and conduct an interview to learn more about the specific symptoms. The doctor may recommend some treatment measures to address the pain, including bracing and pain medications, to see if the pain improves before ordering medical imaging studies and considering casting and other options.