Cuboid Syndrome: Causes and Recovery

Cuboid syndrome is caused by joint and ligaments injury around the cuboid bone.

putting bandage on a knee injury

Injuries on the foot make it harder to function especially on our daily activities. Sometimes, even simple actions like standing and walking will be such a huge challenge; this happens because of the pressure that is being applied to the injured area. It may also be harder if it were the bones that get affected, an example of this is a small bone in the foot that connects other certain bones together – the cuboid bone. So what happens when the cuboid bone gets compromised? The development of the cuboid syndrome.


The foot may look plain and simple because of its small structure but it is normally composed of different bones and muscles. In terms of its bone structure, it has an approximate number of twenty-six bones overall. Therefore, the cuboid bone is considered to be only one of the total bones that comprise afoot. The cuboid bone is also classified as a tarsal bone, and it is just one of the total seven tarsi that are placed on the midfoot and rearfoot section of the foot.

Although the cuboid bone is very small and considered to be only one of the many functional bones of the foot, it has a very important function of connecting the foot itself with the ankle. Another function is that it works as a support system in terms of balance and stability for the foot.

Actually, the bone is made up of different parts or facets; making it identifiable as a multi-faceted bone. The exact position of the cuboid bone is it being placed in between two metatarsal bones which are the fourth and fifth metatarsals. These metatarsal bone can be found lying behind the fourth and last toes and the heel bone.

The cuboid bone has 6 surfaces or facets, and each of them has its own distinctions and specific functions.

Dorsal surface

Dorsal pertains to the upper part, which means that this surface is the top part of the bone. This part is what connects the bone to the ligaments and to the other bones in the foot.

Plantar surface

This surface is located at the frontal part of the foot. The deep groove that is present in the plantar surface is important for other foot bones such as the peroneus longus tendon and plantar ligament.

Lateral surface

The lateral surface is found on the sides of the bone. It also contains a deep groove which was named the peroneal sulcus.

Posterior surface

Posterior means “back”, therefore this surface is the backside of the bone. The characteristics of this surface are that it has a smooth texture and a triangular shape that fits its function as a connection with the front surface of the calcaneus.

Anterior surface

Compared to the other surfaces, the anterior is considered to be quite smaller and it has a triangular shape but is somehow irregular. This surface is actually known to be divided into two more surfaces in order to fit together with tarsometatarsal joints.

Medial surface – The inner part of the bone also has a surface which is known as the medial surface. The surface is described to be broad and it has four sides, plus the surface itself has an oval shape which has the purpose of properly accommodating other bones like the navicular bone and the third cuneiform.


The cuboid bone is very important specifically when it comes to maintaining the stability of the foot, it is also one of the main controllers of the movement of the toes. Therefore, problems with the cuboid bone will cause a huge impact that results in a lot of inconvenience for the person. One common problem with the cuboid bone is the cuboid syndrome.

Cuboid syndrome occurs when there is a sudden injury that causes the damage of the ligaments and joints around the cuboid bone. Most of the time, the ligaments get torn and that adds to the pain that can be felt during the injury. Another term for this injury is a cuboid subluxation, meaning there was a misplacement or unwanted movement in one of the joints; but it does not necessarily mean that there is a complete disconnection between the joint and the bone.


When a cuboid syndrome is encountered, it means that the foot got injured in general. The end result of getting a cuboid syndrome usually comes from a sprain and other ankle related injuries. What exactly happens when a person experiences this syndrome? There will be a movement in both cuboid bone and heel bone wherein both bones get misplaced and they are oftentimes moved in opposite directions. The common position of the cuboid bone in the syndrome is that it moves outward while the heel bone moves inward.

Cuboid syndrome

Sample situations that may cause injuries resulting to the cuboid syndrome:

Accidental falls that lead to a twisted ankle

  1. Misstepping
  2. Physical activities that involve intense pressure on the ankles
  3. Overuse of the foot that suddenly leads to too much strain
  4. People with flat feet are also prone to cuboid syndrome
  5. Professional athletes who are playing sports that are focused on jumping and running are more at risk.


The easiest treatment step for the cuboid syndrome is by using the RICE treatment method.

  • Rest the injured foot and stop doing physical activities for a while.
  • Ice packs and cold compresses must be used to tone down the pain and the possible swelling caused by the injury.
  • Compress the injured foot by using an elastic compression bandage.
  • Elevate the foot as much as possible. This will help greatly in achieving a better blood flow that will help in reducing the swelling of the injured foot. Do this by lying down on your bed and placing a few pillows below the foot to get it elevated a few centimeters or inches above the heart.

There may be a few physical therapy treatments that are applicable to the cuboid syndrome. You may want to consult your doctor or licensed physical therapist regarding this.

In terms of recovery, the cuboid syndrome usually lasts a month to two months in order to completely recover. But the pain normally subsides in a few days or a week after acquiring the injury. However, it is best to do immediate action regarding the injury and ask your doctor for faster alternatives for your recovery. They will often suggest that you get it checked by a licensed physical therapist that can help perform procedures that will help in speeding up the recovery. Also, stop overusing the injured foot for a while and it is better to rest from strenuous physical activities or try to change your workout routine into something milder and easy to do. 

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