Calcaneus Fracture

A calcaneus fracture is a common foot injury resulting from a single incident or due to overuse. The calcaneus bone is the large heel bone at the rear of the foot, and stress fractures of varying severity can arise in the bone, particularly in long distance runners.

Symptoms of a Calcaneus Fracture

Intense and acute pain occurring in the heel is the most prominent symptom; it can emerge and worsen gradually. The pain is usually more intense during weight bearing physical activities, and can be provoked by gently squeezing both sides of the back of the injured heel. There may be accompanying inflammation or bruising in the area. It can often be very difficult to perform regular movements of the foot or ankle; the motions are restricted by the fracture and the severe pain. In the case of a major fracture you might see a noticeable bone deformity resulting from an open fracture: this will involve part of the bone being visible through the skin.

Causes of Calcaneus Fracture

Most commonly a calcaneus fracture is caused by a single traumatic blow or other impact to the heel. This can occur during sports, especially high speed activities that use projectiles or hard bats or sticks, such as tennis, rugby or hockey. Sports in which falling or collisions are likely can also provoke the injury, such as contact sports like football or those involving jumping such as basketball. The other primary cause of such fractures is overuse, especially in track disciplines like jumping and long distance running. Repetitive actions incrementally wear down the bone over time, and factors contributing to this include inadequate warm ups, faulty stretching techniques, or simply overdoing certain physical activities beyond the limits of one's body and fitness level. Outside of sport it is regularly found in soldiers due to their repetitive marching.

Treatment for Calcaneus Fracture

It is important to see a doctor immediately, though less obvious stress fractures are known to sometimes not show up in x-rays at first. In cases of open fractures, surgical intervention is nearly always a necessity, with the bones needing realignment and sometimes a fitting of a metal plate. Less severe, more common calcaneus fractures might only require a strict regime of conservative and home treatment, but please check with a professional. They may fit you with a cast for up to 2 months in order to keep the leg immobilised, and prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medication to reduce the symptoms. Crutches are often implemented to avoid weight bearing. Resting the bone is crucial.

Rehabilitation from Calcaneus Fracture

When the doctor allows the removal of the cast, they might recommend a program of physical therapy to help build up strength and movement in the healing leg. Before returning to any sports or other activities using the leg you must stretch and strengthen the surrounding muscles until they are in good condition; this assists in preventing a recurrence of the injury and allows the leg to become flexible and strong before returning to full training.

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