Calcaneus Fracture Recovery: Walking after a Calcaneal Fracture Surgery

28 Feb

Calcaneus Fracture Recovery: Walking after a Calcaneal Fracture Surgery

Calcaneus fractures are severe injuries that can produce lifelong problems. Care taken during calcaneus fracture recovery influences the extent of recovery and restoration of foot function…

A calcaneus fracture is a heel bone fracture. The heel bone has the likeness of a hard boiled egg, as it has a thin, hard outer shell, and a soft, spongy bone on the inside. It takes a lot of stress for the calcaneus to fracture, and consequently, if the protective shell brakes, the bone is likely to collapse and become fragmented. The calcaneus bone has the important function of supporting the foot and making normal walking possible. The joint above the calcaneus, allows the foot to rotate inwards and outwards.

Causes of a Calcaneus Fracture

Calcaneus fractures do not occur casually, and are usually the outcome of a high impact situation. They may result from a fall from a height, such as falling from a ladder, or due to an automobile accident where the heel gets crushed against the floorboard. Alternately, they can also be the outcome of an ankle sprain. Though it happens rarely, it can also be a stress fracture caused by overuse, and is usually seen in athletes.

Symptoms of a Calcaneus Fracture

Calcaneus fractures are very painful and also cause quite a bit of swelling. As an outcome of these symptoms, a person may not be able to walk. When the skin remains intact, a calcaneus fracture is called a closed injury. In a more severe case, where the skin is broken (compound fractures), the fracture is a surgical emergency.

Calcaneus Fracture Recovery: Walking after a Calcaneal Fracture Surgery

Treatment of a Calcaneus Fracture

The goal of calcaneus fracture treatment is to restore the dimensions of the heel to their original state. In cases where the pieces of broken bone are not pushed out of place by the force of the injury, a person may not need surgery. Irrespective of whether the injured foot is put in a cast or splint, one must not put any weight on the foot until the bone is completely healed, which takes six to eight weeks at the least, and sometimes longer.

Surgical treatment is usually required in cases where the bones have shifted out of place. Surgery involves insertion of a metal plate and small screws, which are used to position the bones in their natural structure and keep them that way while they heal. In some cases, a bone graft is used to assist in the healing of the fractures. Once the surgery is completed and the incision dressed, a splint may be applied until it is healed.

Calcaneus Fracture Recovery

For good calcaneus fracture recovery, one must take considerable care of the heel bone and not place any weight on it for approximately 10 weeks after surgery. If your surgeon gives you a removable splint, after a while you can begin exercising the joint. Walking after a calcaneus fracture surgery may present a challenge, and at best, you will have to hobble around with the help of a cane and a special boot, till the cast comes off. One may also have to use elevation, immobilization, and ice application to reduce postoperative swelling. Complete calcaneus fracture recovery may take up to a year.

As it takes a great amount of force to break the heel bone, walking after a calcaneus fracture surgery may never be the same as before. There is also the potential for short and long term complications. Immediate complications include swelling, or healing problems. If the fracture is more severe or involves the joints, long term consequences include arthritis and chronic pain. Some people need to wear to a heel pad, lift, or cup as well as special shoes with extra depth in the toe compartment.


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