Heel Bone (OS Calcis) Fracture
Heel bone fractures are one of the most common fractures seen by consultants. They often happen as a result of a fall from a height such as a ladder.
Symptoms of heel bone fracture include pain and the inability to bear weight on the area.
It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible as left untreated the bones in your foot may not heal correctly.
How are heel fractures treated?
The method of treatment on your heel fracture will depend on the extent of your injury. After a full examination of the area your consultant may order an x-ray or CT scan.
If the broken bone has not been pushed out of place your consultant may recommend stabilising the fracture temporarily to allow any swelling to go down. You may be asked to elevate your foot and ice it to help reduce the swelling. After 2-3 weeks your consultant may give you a removable cast to keep the bone in place and allow it to set. You will not be able to bear weight on your foot for 6-10 weeks.
Bone that has moved out of place after an injury may require surgery.
What happens during heel bone fracture repair surgery?
Heel bone fracture repair is usually done under general anaesthetic and can take up to 2 hours. Your surgeon will expose your heel bone and access the damage. They may use plates or surgical screws to fix the bone in place. They may also use a bone graft to fill any gaps in the damaged bone. Your wound will be close using stitches or staples. A cast will be applied to your foot to keep it stationary and supported. You will be given pain relief medication
Your stay in hospital will depend on the degree of swelling following your operation. Be sure and discuss this with your surgeon.
A physiotherapist may visit you to teach you exercises that will keep your foot flexible.
Going home after heel bone fracture repair
Please arrange for someone to drive you home when you are discharged from hospital.
You will not be able to bear weight on your foot for 6-12 weeks. Wear your cast or plastic splint at all times except when doing your exercises. Continue to take any pain relief medication. Once you are able to begin bearing weight you may be given a special walking boot.
Be sure and discuss any return to work and resuming any sports with your consultant. Do not attempt to drive until you are confident you can make an emergency stop.
It is difficult to predict the outcome of heel bone fracture repair. You may experience continued stiffness. Your consultant may recommend wearing a heel pad or cup or orthotics.
Specific complications of heel bone fracture repair may include:
- Infection of the wound
- Nerve or tendon damage
- Arthritis of the heel joint.