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Heel Bone (Calcaneum) Fracture

The calcaneus (heel bone) is the largest tarsal bone, lying below the ankle joint. Together with the talus, it forms the subtalar joint which allows you to move the hindfoot from side to side which helps you balance, especially on an uneven surface.

What causes a heel bone fracture?

A heel bone fracture (calcaneal fracture) is an uncommon injury, often caused by a fall from height, landing on your feet, for example when falling off a ladder or from a twisting injury to the ankle. If the injury results in the heel taking the full force of your bodyweight, this can mean it becomes widened and shortened.

What are the signs?

Signs include pain, swelling, bruising, and not being able to put weight on your heel to walk.

How is it diagnosed?

During your first appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your symptoms with Mr Heidari, who will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment. He may also arrange X-rays and CT scans in order to assess the damage.

What does treatment involve?

Treatment depends on the type of fracture you have. Twisting your ankle may, for example, cause a small crack in the bone, whereas being in a car accident can result in the heel bone being shattered (comminuted fracture). If you land on your feet after falling, the talus bone can be forced into the heel bone. The higher the impact, the more likely the heel bone is to be damaged.

If there is no displacement of bones, you may be able to avoid surgery by wearing a cast, splint or brace and keeping weight off the foot for up to eight weeks.

If necessary, Mr Heidari can carry out surgery to realign displaced bones, repair a fracture and help you avoid long term problems including pain and arthritis. Mr Heidari may also suggest that you follow a tailored rehabilitation programme with a member of our physiotherapy team.

This information is written as a guide to your treatment but it is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.