A break or fracture in the heel bone is a type of
sports injury that may be temporarily disabling. The heel bone, which is known as the
calcaneus, is a relatively large foot bone that provides the foundation
for the heel portion of the foot. An orthopaedic surgeon may diagnose
the patient with a stable heel bone fracture, which means that the broken
ends of the calcaneus are properly aligned. When the broken bone ends
are not properly aligned, it is referred to as a displaced fracture. Although
a heel bone fracture can be quite painful and disabling, there are treatments
available to help patients recover fully.
Identifying Heel Bone Fractures
The symptoms of a heel bone fracture are localized to the foot area. Most
often, patients will experience pain, swelling, and bruising, along with
an inability to place weight on the affected foot. Heel deformity may
develop. Patients may notice these symptoms after suffering a severe twisting
injury or fall, or after being involved in a car crash.
Exploring Nonsurgical Treatment
Patients with a stable heel bone fracture may not require orthopaedic surgery.
They may only need to immobilize the area, such as with a cast, until
the bone is fully healed. For at least six to eight weeks, patients cannot
place any weight on the affected foot.
Undergoing Orthopaedic Surgery
Orthopaedic surgery for a heel bone fracture is often necessary when the
anatomy of the foot becomes abnormal or if the patient has suffered a displaced fracture. The orthopaedic surgeon
can reposition the bone fragments so that they are properly aligned. Then,
he or she places metal plates and screws or other devices to hold the
bone fragments together while they heal. Patients who avoid undergoing
surgery even when surgery is necessary to restore normal anatomy are likely
to experience poor outcomes, such as persistent pain, limited range of
motion, and an altered gait.
MK Orthopaedics’ has two podiatric surgeons to provide a
continuum of care, from diagnostics to treatments to follow-up care. Dr. Aaron Kim and Dr.
Joe George are available for care by calling (815) 741-6900 to book an
appointment. In addition to fractures, our orthopaedic specialists provide
nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for those with an ACL tear,
meniscus tear, shoulder pain, and many other musculoskeletal issues.