The calcaneus, or heel bone, is a large bone that joins with the talus. A fracture is a break in a bone from trauma or various disease conditions. The types of fractures to the calcaneus depend on the severity and include stable fractures, displaced fractures, open fractures, closed fractures and comminuted fractures.
A fracture of the calcaneus is most commonly due to a traumatic event such as falling from a height, twisting injury, motor accidents, sports injuries and ankle sprain.
Fractures of the calcaneus are considered serious and can cause longstanding problems if not treated correctly. Stiffness and pain in the joint, as well as arthritis are commonly reported risks of a calcaneal fracture.
The commonly seen signs and symptoms of calcaneal fractures are
- Pain in the heel
- Swelling of the heel
- Bruising of the heel
- Inability to walk or bear weight on the foot
The evaluation of this type of fracture involves imaging, usuallyy with an X-ray and CT scan.
Calcaneal fractures are treated based on the type of fracture and extent of soft tissue damage.
- Nonsurgical treatment
- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.).
- Surgical treatment
- Open reduction and internal fixation - This surgery involves putting the bone fragments back together with metal plates and screws to reposition them and set them to normal alignment.
- Percutaneous screw fixation - Metal screws are inserted through small incisions to hold the bone pieces together.
Irrespective of the treatment procedure, the patient is instructed on the practice of simple exercises preformed regularly to help restore function.