Fractures of calcaneus - Foot Injuries

The calcaneus is also known as the heel bone; a fracture occurs when the bone is partially or fully broken.

Causes of a calcaneus fracture

In most cases, fractures of the calcaneus are caused by high speed impact or contact; this may be a sports injury or a fall from height, for example. In some cases, a calcaneus fracture may be caused by repetitive actions; this is a progressive injury and is more commonly known as a stress fracture; this type of injury is common amongst long distance runners and athletes that take part in jumping events.

Symptoms of a calcaneus fracture

The most common symptoms associated with a calcaneus fracture are intense pain in the heel, a restricted range of movement, bruising and swelling. In extreme cases, the fracture may be open, meaning the bone protrudes through the skin; the physical deformity will be clearly visible.

Treatment for a calcaneus fracture

An open fracture will almost always require emergency surgical treatment; this procedure will re-align the bones, which may require a metal plate if the injury is severe. Less serious injuries will usually recover quickly with the help of rest, ice and medication to reduce swelling and manage pain and immobilisation; usually this will be done using a cast. During this time, the individual will usually wear crutches to prevent the affected bone from bearing weight. Physiotherapy may be recommended to gradually increase strength and movement in the area.

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