Ask Dr. Anderson: Could I Have a Heel Fracture?
Dr. Michael Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist, explains why prompt medical evaluation is critical. Diagnosing heel pain can be a complex matter requiring specialized expertise, according to Dr. Anderson.
How does a heel fracture occur?
The majority of heel bone fractures occur as a result of high-energy trauma, such as a car accident, and are referred to as intra-articular joint fractures because they can affect the entire heel joint. Sports-related fractures are usually less severe than high-impact trauma fractures.
Heel fracture symptoms
Severe calcaneus fractures hurt and cause a lot of pain and swelling, to the point where the skin around the fracture blisters. If you break your heel bone, you’ll know something’s wrong and should go to the emergency room for treatment.
Will this injury heal by itself without treatment?
An orthopedic specialist can help you determine appropriate treatment and monitor your recovery. While not everyone requires surgery, you do need an expert to correctly diagnose your injury.
Several types of heel fractures
Stress fractures and avulsion fractures of the Achilles tendon are two types of heel fractures. Avulsion fractures occur when a corner of the heel bone breaks off due to an ankle sprain. Recovery time varies depending on which bone in the joint is affected; some take longer to heal than others.
Prompt medical evaluation improves fracture outcomes
You can break your calcaneus in a variety of ways, and Dr. Anderson’s goal is to help you recover as quickly as possible. You may need to walk in a boot to help the bone heal, or you may need surgery and be required to stay off your heel for several months.
Summit Orthopedics offers personalized foot and ankle expertise
Summit Orthopedics has convenient locations throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, including state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, and Plymouth, MN. Our foot and ankle specialists can help with conservative treatment and proven, evidence-based surgical options.
How do you know if you broke your heel?
Patients with calcaneus fractures commonly experience the following symptoms:
- Heel deformity.
- Inability to put weight on the heel or walk.
- Heel deformity.
Can you break your heel and still walk?
u201cThere are a variety of treatment options for each type of fracture. You may need to walk in a boot to support bone healing, or you may need surgery and be required to stay off your heel for several months.
What does a heel stress fracture feel like?
Look for the following symptoms in any fracture: Pain that gets worse the longer you stay on your feet; pain that is most intense in one spot on the heel (although it may radiate to other areas) and is painful to the touch; swelling or redness in the affected foot.
How do you treat a broken heel bone?
Doctors consult an orthopedist to determine the best treatment for heel fractures, which may include splinting, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (PRICE), followed by a cast, or surgery to put the broken bone pieces back in place and keep them in place.
Is it easy to break your heel?
Because breaking your heel bone (calcaneus) requires a lot of force, such as that experienced in a car accident or a fall from a great height, you may also sustain other injuries, particularly to the back.
How long does it take to recover from a broken heel?
How long does it take for a broken heel bone to heal? If your injury is minor, such as a crack in the bone with little muscle damage, you may be able to return to normal activities in 3 to 4 months after surgery; however, if your fracture is severe, recovery could take up to 2 years.
What to do if your heel hurts when you walk?
Self-care is important.
- Avoid activities that stress your heels, such as running, standing for long periods of time, or walking on hard surfaces.
- Ice. Apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas to your heel for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day.
- New shoes.
- Foot supports.
- Over-the-counter pain medications.
Does a broken heel swell?
Symptoms of a heel fracture include pain, swelling, and bruising of the heel, as well as inability to walk. Blisters may form around the heel in fractures with severe swelling.
How do I know if I have plantar fasciitis or stress fracture?
A stress fracture is more likely if there is swelling around the painful area. If stretching temporarily relieves the pain, it could be the result of plantar fasciitis. If squeezing the heel bone (between the thumb and fingers on the inside and outside of the heel) causes pain, it could be a sign of a stress fracture.
What happens if a fracture is left untreated?
When a bone fracture is left untreated, it can either result in a nonunion or a delayed union. In the former case, the bone does not heal at all, meaning it will remain broken, causing swelling, tenderness, and pain to worsen over time.
What happens if a stress fracture is left untreated?
Stress fractures often worsen if left untreated, eventually becoming incapacitating, and a bone with an untreated stress fracture may break completely, necessitating more extensive treatment.
Do stress fractures hurt more at night?
What are the signs and symptoms of a stress fracture? Pain is usually felt over the injured area and develops over a few weeks. It is typically worse when putting weight on the injured area and better when resting. As the stress fracture worsens, the pain may become present at rest and at night.
How do you sleep with a broken heel?
Invest in a specialized pillow, such as a body pillow, for elevationu2014keeping the broken bone above your heart prevents blood from pooling and causing swelling. If that doesn’t work, slowly adjust to a side position if possible.
What is the most painful bone to break?
Here are some of the bones that are the most painful to break:
- 1) Femur. The femur is the longest and strongest bone in the body. 2) Tailbone. You can probably imagine how painful this injury is. 3) Ribs. Breaking your ribs can be extremely distressing and painful.
Can you drive with a broken heel?
You can walk on your foot as much as your comfort allows, but you’ll find it easier to walk with crutches in the beginning. You can resume driving once your boot has been removed and you’re confident in your ability to safely control your vehicle.