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More Than an Achilles Heel: What to Know about Calcaneus Fractures

A fracture to your calcaneus (heel bone) can be especially traumatic and painful. Typically caused by a car crash or a fall from a high ladder involving the crushing of your heel under your weight, this type of fracture can cause your heel to widen, shorten, and/or become deformed. Calcaneus fractures are quite uncommon, as your tarsal bones only account for about 2% of all adult fractures and only half of those tarsal fractures are calcaneus fractures. Symptoms of a calcaneus fracture usually include pain, bruising, swelling, heel deformity, and an inability to put weight on your heel or walk. Sometimes the pain won’t prevent you from walking, though you may experience a noticeable limp. X-rays and CT scans are used for diagnosis of calcaneus fractures in our Houston clinic.

The Prognosis on Treating Calcaneus Fractures

The severity of a calcaneus fracture depends upon the number of involved fractures, the amount and size of the broken bone fragments, the injuries to your cartilage surfaces, and the injuries to surrounding soft tissues, including your muscles, tendons, and skin. Open fractures usually cause more damage, require more time to heal, and run a higher risk of infection. A simple twist of your ankle may result in a single crack in your calcaneus, while a car crash may result in your bone being entirely shattered.

Surgery is usually necessary to reconstruct a crushed heel bone, but even with surgery, some calcaneus fractures still result in long-term complications, including pain, swelling, loss of mobility, and arthritis. Surgery, orthotics, and physical therapy may be recommended. To learn more about KSF Orthopaedic Center’s treatment options for calcaneus fractures in North Houston, give us a call!

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