Heel Fracture

Severe Heel Pain on Bottom or Back of Heel

What could be my problem?

A heel fracture, or a calcaneus fracture, is a break of the calcaneus or heel bone typically occurring as a result of a high-impact injury from a fall, car accident or sports injury. Pain, bruising, or swelling of the heel and trouble walking are major symptoms.

What causes a heel fracture?

  • Fall from a height
  • Twisting injury to the ankle
  • Motor vehicle collision

If I think I have a heel fracture, when should I see a foot doctor?:

If you suspect you have a heel fracture, stop your activity and do not apply pressure to the injured heel. Apply an ice pack and call a foot specialist for a diagnosis. If the heel fracture is caught early, long-term complications, such as pain, swelling, loss of motion and arthritis may be avoided. Heel fracture symptoms include:

  • Pain in foot or heel
  • Bruising in foot or heel
  • Swelling in foot or heel
  • Heel deformity
  • Inability to put weight on the heel or walk normally

What are my treatment options for a heel fracture?

Non-Surgical Treatment Options:

May be recommended if the pieces of the broken heel bone have not been displaced by the force of the injury.

  • Cast, splint or brace to hold the bones in proper position while they heal
  • Crutches, non-weight bearing on the injured foot.
  • Physical therapy to improve range of motion in foot and ankle and strengthen supporting muscles.

Surgical Treatment Options:

If the bones have shifted out of place (displaced) surgery may be required.

  • Percutaneous Screw Fixation
    If the bone pieces are large, they can sometimes be moved back into place by a foot surgeon without making a large incision.  Special screws are inserted through small incisions to hold the fracture together.
  • Open Reduction and Internal Fixation
    An open incision is made to reposition (reduce) the bones into their normal alignment. They are held together with wires or metal plates and screws.
  • Personalized Medicine Pain Management
    Medications are often prescribed for short-term pain relief after surgery to help you recover faster.  Many types of medications are available to help manage pain including opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and local anesthetics.