How To Tell If You Have a Fractured Heel

Fractures of the talus or calcaneus, the hindfoot bones beneath the ankle also known as the heel, can cause significant long-term complications. Heel fractures can occur from any form of foot trauma or high-impact injury. Common symptoms of heel fractures may include varying levels of pain, stiffness, and difficulty walking.

Calcaneus (Heel Bone) Fracture Treatment Options

In some circumstances, conservative treatment with assistance from bracing or steroid injections may provide immediate benefit, however, long-term solutions are often achieved through surgery. Patients who are experiencing arthritis of the subtalar joint may also need specialized orthopedic assistance, but other procedures may be applicable that will preserve the natural joint of the foot and ankle. All mild to severe cases will require the expertise of an orthopedic professional with subspecialties in your respective condition.

Calcaneus (Heel Bone) Fracture Surgery

After talus fractures or calcaneus fractures, the associated bones in the rear of the foot may have failed to heal together or in the correct arrangement. In these scenarios, called nonunions or malunions, if the joint is still without significant abnormality, the bones may be re-broken and realigned by the surgeon. For some patients with arthritis in the subtalar joint, significant improvement in pain relief and function can be achieved with subtalar arthrodesis. The minimally invasive surgical technique is the fusion or gluing of the joint to promote renewed mobility from the heel fracture. This arthroscopic procedure is made possible with the use of bone grafts, new screws, or a plate to help realign the foot.

Avoiding Avascular Necrosis

After talus fractures in particular, a condition called avascular necrosis may develop without proper medical attention. This problematic scenario occurs when the blood supply to the talus bone is cut off or prevented of the efficient flow of nutrients. This may result in the bone dying or collapsing altogether. In some scenarios, patients may benefit from a procedure to help the bone develop a new blood supply. The surgeon will drill holes into the bone or transfer bone and tissue with a viable blood supply support to stimulate healing.

Seek Assistance from an Orthopaedic Specialist Near Chicago

The bones within the heel have a complex, intricate relationship and should be treated only by an experienced orthopaedic specialist. Dr. Anand Vora is a board-certified orthopedist who specializes in the foot and ankle. His extensive knowledge reflects his local and national publications and lecture opportunities on the reconstruction options following heel fractures. Dr. Vora utilizes cutting-edge surgical practices to ensure optimal success and a full recovery. Contact an office near you to schedule an appointment to learn more about your heel reconstruction surgery.

Fractures of the talus or calcaneus (hindfoot bones beneath the ankle) can cause significant long-term problems. Some of these specifically include pain and stiffness. In some circumstances, conservative treatment with bracing or steroid injections may be of benefit, but long-term solutions are often surgical. For some patients with arthritis in the subtalar joint (joint below the ankle joint), significant improvement in pain relief and function can be achieved with a subtalar arthrodesis (fusion, or gluing together of this specific joint of the foot). In other patients, if arthritis of the subtalar joint has not already developed, other procedures may be applicable that preserve the normal joints of the foot and ankle.

After talus fractures or calcaneus fractures, the bone may have failed to heal together or healed incorrectly. In these scenarios, called nonunions or malunions, if the subtalar joint is still without significant abnormality, the bones may be rebroken and realigned, made possible through the use of bone graft and new screws or plates to realign the foot.

After talus fractures in particular, a condition called avascular necrosis may develop. This is a problem with the blood supply to the talus bone, causing the bone to die and possibly collapse. In some scenarios, patients may benefit from a procedure to stimulate the bone to develop a new blood supply by making small drill holes in the bone or to transfer bone and tissue with a viable blood supply to stimulate healing.

These bones have complex, intricate relationships, and as such should be treated by an orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist experienced in treating such disorders. Dr. Vora has published and lectured locally and nationally on the reconstructive options following such conditions.

For more on this condition, also see:
Talus Fractures
Calcaneus Fractures
Triple arthrodesis
Hindfoot arthrodesis – Subtalar arthrodesis