Calcaneus Fractures

Calcaneus fractures can limit your ability to walk, stand and perform other activities that require weightbearing through the foot. The calcaneus is the large bone in the heel of the foot. Some common causes of calcaneus fractures are motor vehicle accidents or a fall from a great height in which you land on your foot. Stress fractures of the calcaneus can occur from overuse or repeated high impact activities.

Image of Calcaneus where calcaneus fractures occur, and other bones of the foot and ankle.The Calcaneus, where calcaneus fractures occur is one of the many bone in the foot and ankle.

If you wan to learn more about the bones of the ankle and foot, you can read Bones in The Ankle.

You also may want to read Ligaments in The Foot to learn more about the ligaments in the foot.

What do calcaneus fractures feel like?

Some may ask, what does a calcaneus fracture feel like? The quick answer is a calcaneus fracture will most likely make it difficult and painful to put any weight through the affected heel. This may limit your standing or walking activities. However, you may even experience increased pain, discomfort, and swelling of your ankle and heel while at rest. If you experience a stress fracture of your calcaneus the symptoms may not be as apparent. 

How long do calcaneus fractures take to heal?

Healing time for a calcaneus fracture will typically take about 3-4 months from injury whether you elect to have surgery or not. Typically, you will be in a boot, splint or cast of some type to protect the fracture with limited weight bearing. This allows for healing during the 3-4 months it takes to heal. 

What is the treatment for a calcaneus fractures?

Treatment for some calcaneus fractures varies. Some calcaneus fractures can be treated non-surgically if the fracture is not extensive or displaced. If the fracture is extensive or displaced, your surgeon may elect to perform surgery. In either case, you will be non-weight bearing on the limb for 3-4 months as the fracture heals. If the weight bearing restrictions are not followed, there is a chance for re-fracturing your calcaneus. Additionally, PRICE should be followed throughout the recovery. PRICE stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Ice.

Physical Therapy is beneficial in recovering from a calcaneus fracture. Typically early motion is encouraged post surgery within the Physician's post-surgical guidelines. Upon starting Physical therapy, you will likely focus on mobility and ROM. When the stage of healing allows Physical Therapy will move on to work on to strengthening the muscles of the foot and leg. Depending on what activities you partake in Physical Therapy may eventually continue on to functional strengthening and sport-specific strengthening.

How well you do and how long recovery takes after a calcaneus fracture may be different with each situation or person. Factors such as severity of the injury and out of the ordinary complications may lengthen recovery time. 

If you think you have suffered from a calcaneus fracture or another foot injury it may be time to see one our experienced Physicians that specialize in treating the foot.

Once you are cleared to start PT, JOI has 12 Physical Therapy Centers in the North Florida area that have some of the best Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Certified Athletic Trainer the are has to offer. You can book an appointment with JOI Rehab by calling 904-858-7045 or clicking the button below.

By: Mikel Betancourt, PTA

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