A fracture of the calcaneus, or heel bone, is a serious and disabling injury that can lead to longstanding problems in the foot and ankle. Calcaneus fractures can cause intense pain and make walking more difficult. Without treatment, they may worsen and further damage the broken bone. Because this type of fracture can be hard to treat, it’s imperative getting the best help from the most experienced orthopedic specialists, like those you’ll find at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado. No one needs to suffer from the pain or possible complications from this type of fracture.
A calcaneus fracture is one or more small breaks in the heel bone (calcaneus). They are relatively uncommon, accounting for approximately 2% of the total number of foot fractures. Most fractures are closed injuries, meaning the skin is intact. When the skin around the fracture is broken, this may represent an open fracture, also called a compound fracture. An open fracture of the calcaneus is an emergency that requires urgent surgery.
WHAT IS A CALCANEUS FRACTURE?
Fractures of the calcaneus may or may not involve the subtalar and surrounding joints. Fractures involving the joints (intra-articular fractures) are the most severe type of fractures and include damage to the cartilage (the connective tissue between two bones). If the fracture does involve the joints, there is the potential for long-term consequences, such as arthritis and chronic pain. Fractures that do not involve the joint (extra-articular fractures) include:
- Those caused by trauma, such as avulsion fractures (in which a piece of the bone is pulled off of the calcaneus by the Achilles tendon or a ligament) or crush injuries resulting in multiple fracture fragments
- Stress fractures caused by overuse or mild injury