A calcaneus fracture is typically due to serious, high-impact injuries. It generally occurs after falls from a height, usually from a ladder.
The calcaneus or heel bone supports the foot and vital in regular walking. The joint on the upper part of the calcaneus is the subtalar joint which allows the foot to rotate interiorly and externally.
Other possible causes of a calcaneus fracture include sports injuries and vehicular accidents.
What are the indications?
A calcaneus fracture can result to foot pain and swelling. The usual indications of the fracture include:
- Difficulty or inability to walk
- Intense heel pain
- Swelling and bruising of the foot
In most cases, a calcaneus fracture is categorized as a closed injury where the skin remains intact. Once the skin surrounding the fracture is damaged, it is considered as an open fracture that necessitates immediate surgery.
Management of a calcaneus fracture
A calcaneus fracture can be managed with a cast or surgery might be suggested. If the fracture is not out of alignment, conservative measures are started.
This is suggested for individuals who have poor circulation or diabetes since they are at risk for ending up with complications from surgical procedures to the foot. Those who smoke are also at high risk for complications linked to surgery.
It is important to note that surgery must be decided on carefully due to the potential risks. The surgical treatment typically includes the creation of an incision on top of the exterior of the foot and insertion of a metal screws and plates into the damaged heel bone. The doctor will try to reinstate the correct alignment of the bone and restore the cartilage surface.
The recovery period for a calcaneus fracture is vital in determining the time of return to the pre-injury level of activity. The individual must keep any weight off the foot for up to 3 months. It is also vital to control the swelling with elevation, application of ice and immobilization.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on calcaneus fracture is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed by taking a standard first aid course with Ottawa First Aid.