Calcaneal fractures are usually caused by severe trauma to the foot, such as from a fall or car accident. Small calcaneal fractures are also seen in runners and other athletes who participate in activities that put stress on the foot. Although anyone can experience this type of fracture, it is most common in males between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.
Pain and swelling in the back of the foot are the most common symptoms of calcaneal fractures. Pain is usually severe and requires immediate medical attention. Most fractures will result in an inability to walk or put weight on the heel and ankle. Severe fractures may break through the skin.
Physicians will evaluate symptoms and conduct an examination to diagnose a calcaneal fracture. X-rays or CT scans may also be used to identify a fracture.
Treatment options usually include casts, splints, and braces. Cold compresses, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy may also be effective. Surgery could be required in severe cases when bones are out of alignment.