Calcaneus Fracture Treatment, Calcaneus Bone Fracture Symptoms, Causes, Types, Healing Time and Surgery
A fractured calcaneus happens when the heel breaks. Calcaneus is another name for heel, the biggest bone that is found in the foot. It is the heel or the calcaneus that lends support to the foot and to the entire weight of the body as well. This bone is large enough to do all this supporting for the human body. Thus, a person cannot stand properly if this bone fracture on the heel occurs. This can be considered as one of the most important bones in the body when it comes to rendering a person to walk because it helps push the foot of the person forward in order to do the walking. Thus, a patient with calcaneus fracture should find effective ways on how to heal this injury quickly.
A person with calcaneal fracture is usually one who has fallen with a high velocity impact. This usually happens when a person falls from a height of six feet or even higher. Another common cause of calcaneus fractures would be vehicular accidents. The bad thing about this is that aside from a break on the calcaneus bone, the fall or the accident might also cause other associated injuries such as compression fractures of the femur or spine. Some patients with this heel fracture, approximately ten percent of them, also endure compression fractures of the lower spine. People ought to be more careful with driving or while on the road because vehicular accidents are also pointed out as among the common causes of zygomatic arch fractures, as well as one of the causes of zygomaticomaxillary fractures. These are types of facial or maxillary fractures when the face happens to impact on the dashboard or windshield of the car during a high impact collision with another car or street item. Moreover, vehicular accidents that are prevented by seat belts still cause sternum fractures in some people. Most types of calcaneal fractures result to disrupted joint that connects the ankle bone and the calcaneus.
The common basis of classification for the calcaneus bone fracture is the location of the injury. The fracture of calcaneus usually happens right on the body of the heel bone or on the sides of the calcaneus spur. These types of fractured calcaneus are further subdivided based on the extent of the disruption of the joint surface and the distance to which the fragments of the fractured bones have covered upon moving away from their normal position. Extra-articular calcaneal bone fracture does not have a disrupted joint while intra-articular calcaneal fracture has a disrupted joint surface. This is how calcaneus fracture classification is done.
People at Risk
The people who are more prone to the risk of having anterior process calcaneus fracture or any other types of calcaneal fracture are those who usually jump from a high place to the ground. These are usually workers who work in higher places, such as truck loaders, warehouse workers, construction workers, agricultural workers, and others. Other people who are at risk of having left or right calcaneus fracture would be those with games that involve falling from distant heights. These are games like high jumping, pole vaulting, skating, and gymnastics.
As observed during the study of patients who suffer from right or left calcaneus fracture, men are more prone to experiencing calcaneus fracture symptoms than women, in a five is to one ratio. The average age of the usual patients ranges from 30 to 50 years, with more patients aged 45 years.
It is normal procedure that the doctor will get the history of the patients to trace the injuries that have occurred. People who have had calcaneus fractures tend to be more at risk to this fracture injury. Moreover, the doctor will also ask about previous orthopedic surgery, current medications, existing medical conditions, occupation, and allergies. Essentially, every one of these things will aid doctors about how calcaneus avulsion fracture and other heel-related fractures occured. The stress fracture calcaneus or whatever fracture the patient has should be described in detail, how the accident that led to the calcaneus injury happened exactly, location of the fracture, magnitude of the injury, and the direction of the force would help the doctor. Even small injuries in the past that affected the heel should be reported. Among the common fracture symptoms of the patient’s calcaneal tuberosity would be pain, swelling, and black and blue colors around the injured foot. Walking might be a bit impossible to do with this type of injury because the patient cannot put the body weight on the injured heel. A patient who would like to walk again would look for methods to hasten calcaneus fracture recovery. Thigh pain can be felt by patients as well.
The physical examination will follow. There might be deformity in the foot with the fractured heel. Other common signs of this heel fracture would be widening, shortening, or crookedness of the hindfoot. The patient can also expect to experience swelling and bruising on the external part of the foot. This can be traced up to the sole of the broken heel. If this is squeezed, shooting pain can be felt all over the leg. This will need a complete neurovascular examination. When severe pain in the calcaneus is felt, the motion of the injured foot will also be severely limited. The doctor will also examine the feet, knees, ankles, and spine for a possibility of associated injuries.
Fracture diagnosis would include the use of x-ray, CT scan, and MRI scan for proper evaluation of the fragments of the fracture. These diagnostic tests can provide images that will help the doctor give a more accurate diagnosis, which can lead to an accurate recommendation for calcaneus fracture treatment. This is when the patient will know if calcaneus fracture surgery is necessary or not. An ORIF calcaneus fracture surgery is quite necessary in some cases, as determined by the doctor. After the diagnosis, the doctor might be able to give the calcaneus fracture healing time, which is really important to those patients who are still working. They are likely bothered by their inability to walk or move properly that they might demand to start on calcaneus fracture physical therapy right when they do not feel pain any longer. However, it might still take a few weeks as fracture healing time before the injured heel can be used normally. If the broken foot is used before the calcaneus fracture recovery time is up, this might worsen the injury. Other tests would include blood typing, complete blood count, and electrocardiogram, coagulation profiles in order to prepare the patient for surgery.
Calcaneus fracture treatment might need to wait for a few days after the injury happened. There are a few days of allowance to allow the swelling of affected bone to subside. To treat calcaneus fracture initially would mean using the RICE treatment. This means that the patient should rest, use ice pack, apply compression force on the injured heel, and elevate the fractured calcaneus bone. Moreover, a splint can help immobilize thee injured bone so that the fragments of the fracture will stop moving. Like how a fracture cast can immobilize other fractures, the splint would be a big help as well.
Nondisplaced fractures do not need surgery as a way on how to heal them. Comminuted fractures that have the broken calcaneus bones fragmented into many pieces might not need surgery as well. However, these nonoperative ways to treat the fractured heel would need an expert orthopedic surgeon, physical therapist, and orthotist.
A short leg cast needs to be worn for two weeks. Some exercises for the necessary rehabilitation of the ankle and the heel can be done with an expert physical therapist. Weight bearing in small weights starts at eight weeks, and progresses to full weight bearing at 12 weeks.
Displaced fractures can be treated with open reduction and internal fixation, a surgical treatment. After ORIF, a bone graft might be necessary to make up for the crushed bones during the injury.