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Calcaneus Fracture


This is a break of the heel bone. The calcaneus forms the back of the foot and supports you when you walk. A calcaneus fracture is a serious injury that needs medical care.


Calcaneus Fracture

Causes & Triggers

How does this bone get broken? Calcaneus fractures are usually caused by a high-energy impact or a twisting injury. You can break your calcaneus in a road accident. It also can happen if you fall from high up.

  • High-impact, high-force events, such as:
    • Car or other accident
    • Motor vehicle collision
    • Fall
  • •Twisting of the foot

Signs & Symptoms

What are the symptoms? A calcaneus fracture is very painful. You can’t walk or put weight on your foot. You’ll also have a lot of swelling, bruising and tenderness.

  • Bruising
  • Changes in gait
  • Deformity of heel
  • Instability or wobbliness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Uncomfortable or unable to walk or bear weight

Tips & Treatment

A calcaneus fracture must be cared for by a doctor. If it’s not treated properly, you can have serious complications. Your foot will be immobilized, and you may need surgery. You will also need rehabilitation. Your doctor will create a plan that’s right for you.

  • There is more than one type of calcaneus fracture:
    • Closed: bone does not penetrate the skin
    • Comminuted: bone is shattered into at least three pieces
    • Displaced: bone ends are misaligned
    • Open (or compound): bone penetrates the skin
    • Stable: bone ends are aligned yet broken
  • Because of the primary cause—crash, collision or fall—most calcaneus fractures are severe, requiring 3-4 months recovery for minor injuries; 12-24 months for severe injuries.
  • Non-surgical treatment may include a non weight-bearing cast worn for 6-8 weeks or more.
  • Surgical repair may be necessary if bones are displaced, but only after swelling subsides.
  • If the bone fragments during the injury, metal plates and screws may be needed to repair it.
  • Even with proper diagnosis and treatment, there may be some degree of permanent injury or function loss.

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