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Calcaneal Fracture

AMBULATORY CARE:

A calcaneal fracture

is a break in your calcaneus (heel bone).

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Heel pain and inflammation
  • Weak or numb heel
  • Trouble moving or putting weight on your heel

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain.
  • Your cast breaks or gets damaged.
  • Your toes are numb, swollen, cold, or pale.
  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have new blood stains or a bad smell coming from under your cast.
  • You have increased pain or swelling, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may include any of the following:

  • A support device , such as a cast, splint, or boot prevents heel movement and helps your fracture heal. A support device may be the only treatment you need. You may need crutches to help keep weight off your heel.
  • Medicine may be given to prevent or treat pain or a bacterial infection. You may also need a booster shot called Td to help prevent tetanus.
  • Surgery may be needed if your heel bone broke into many pieces or your ligaments were damaged. You may need wires, pins, metal plates, or screws to hold the pieces in place while you heal.

Self-care:

  • Rest your heel as much as possible. Return to normal activities as directed.
  • Apply ice to your heel to decrease swelling and pain. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the bag with a towel before you place it on your heel. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
  • Elevate your heel above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your leg on pillows or blankets to keep your heel elevated comfortably.
    Ice and Elevation
  • You may need to take showers until your healthcare provider says a bath is okay. If you have a cast, cover it with 2 plastic trash bags before you bathe. Tape the bags to your skin to keep the water out. Try to bathe with your foot out of the water in case the bag breaks.
  • Go to physical therapy if directed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Calcaneal Fracture (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.