Foot & Ankle Physicians
This is a painful, debilitating break of the heel bone. Often accompanied by injury to a foot joint called the subtalar, the combined injury can make walking on uneven or slanted surfaces more difficult. Learn the symptoms and interventions for this disabling injury.
Causes & Triggers
- High-impact, high-force events, such as:
- Car or other accident
- Motor vehicle collision
- •Twisting of the foot
Signs & Symptoms
- Changes in gait
- Deformity of heel
- Instability or wobbliness
- Uncomfortable or unable to walk or bear weight
Tips & Treatments
- 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.