Broken Heel

Definitions:

Fractures to the heel bone, also know as the Calcaneus, usually occur as a result of a traumatic event, such as falling from a height, being in an automobile accident, or any other event where the heel is crushed against a hard surface.  A broken heel can also occur with an ankle sprain.

Signs and Symptoms:

There are several signs and symptoms of a broken or fractured heel bone.  An injury to the heal produces different symptoms depending on whether the injury is stress induced or traumatically induced.  The symptoms that normally accompany a traumatic fracture may include:

  • Sudden pain in the heel making it hard to put weight on the foot
  • Swelling in the heel area
  • Bruising of the heel and ankle

Symptoms of stress induced fractures may include generalized pain in the heel area that typically develops over time slowly, usually several days to weeks, and swelling.

Diagnosis:

If a heel fracture is suspected, it should be examined by a foot and ankle specialist as soon as possible.  If the fracture occurs after office hours, a visit to the emergency room would be in order, with a follow up visit to the foot and ankle doctor.  Elevating the ankle is recommended to reduce swelling.

Treatment

Treatment usually includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E).  Compression involves wrapping the foot in an elastic bandage or wearing a compression sock to reduce swelling.  This is typically accompanied with elevating the foot (keeping it even with or slightly above the heart level).  Immobilizing the foot  with a cast or splint and prescription medications to reduce inflammation and relieve pain may be prescribed.  Some injuries may require surgery to repair the bone.  If you are having any of the above symptoms, see Dr. Westemeyer, one of the San Diego podiatrists .  He will choose the treatment method best applicable to your situation.