Calcaneus (Heel Bone) Fracture

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What is a heel bone fracture?

Although it is uncommon, the heel bone can break, especially during a severe fall, such as falling off a roof.

What are the symptoms of a heel bone fracture?

A broken heel bone causes pain in the center of the outside of the ankle or on the bottom of the heel when the patient puts his weight on it.

Who is likely to get a heel bone fracture?

Typically, a heel bone fracture results from an auto accident or a fall onto the leg.

What causes a heel bone fracture?

Extreme force shatters the heel bone. In an accident such as a car crash, the patient may use the heel instinctively as a brace. In a fall, a patient may land feet first, so the heel takes most of the force of the fall.

How is a heel bone fracture diagnosed?

The foot and ankle physicians at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) examine the patient’s foot and typically order an X-ray or CT scan. A heel bone fracture often affects the nerves and circulation to the foot, so the physician will do a thorough check up and review all scans to make sure the fracture did not cause additional damage.

What are the treatments for a heel bone fracture?

Non-surgical Treatment Options

If the bones are in place, the patient most likely doesn’t need surgery. Treatment may include elevating the foot above the level of the heart, wrapping it to keep the bones from shifting, or applying a splint. Ice packs can keep swelling in check. Patients are instructed to stay off the foot for six to eight weeks.

Surgical Treatment Options

If the bones have moved out of place, the patient has a displaced fracture and may need surgery. The foot and ankle doctors at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush use plates and screws to secure the bones in place until the bones heal. The patient wears a cast for two weeks, then a removable cast for eight to ten weeks. When a patient resumes walking, the orthopedic surgeons at MOR often recommend wearing an orthotic boot.

The heel break is a serious injury that often results in continued stiffness. Wearing a heel pad, heel cup, orthotics, or braces may help ease post-surgery discomfort.