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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 become deformed. Calcaneus fractures are relatively uncommon, as your tarsal bones only account for about 2% of all adult fractures. 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 problem won’t prevent you from walking, though you may experience a noticeable limp. X-rays and CT scans are often necessary for the 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 the bone completely shattering.

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

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