As with any bone in the body the heel bone, also called the calcanium or calcaneus, can become damaged and sometimes fractured which can be extremely painful.
What Is The Calcanium?The calcaneus bone is located in the heel region of the foot and is the large bone on the underside of the foot that connects the mid-foot to the lower ankle region.
Usual Causes Of Fracture.This bone can become fractured for a number of reasons. Those who spend a long time on their feet such as soldiers or athletes can suffer from stress fractures in the bone, but it is also common after a fall from a height when the person has landed roughly on their feet. Sometimes a stress fracture cannot be diagnosed at the time of injury as these tiny splits in the bone are not detected on an x-ray and can only be seen after it has healed and the bone has thickened and calcified.It can be extremely painful with pain becoming gradually worse especially after weight-bearing exercises and can radiate to each side of the foot.Along with the pain experienced from fracturing this bone, pain can result to damage to the surrounding nerves and tissues as the area contains a lot of cartilage, ligaments and tendons, which when damaged, can be as painful as the fracture itself.
Treatment Options.If the injury has been sustained as the result of an obvious accident, immediate medical help should be sought to determine if there are injuries to other parts of the body which may be serious.As this injury is occasionally not seen on an x-ray it can be difficult to diagnose. Those with the symptoms of severe heel pain will be advised to rest the area allowing it to be elevated when able to reduce pain and swelling.Anti-inflammatory medications may help to reduce pain and discomfort, or stronger pain relief can be requested from the doctor.In cases of severe pain a plaster cast may be applied for 6 weeks to allow the injury to rest, heal and stay protected from further damage.When normal activities are resumed, the person should ensure they are wearing suitable footwear.
For those with an obvious fracture of the bone, surgery may be indicated. Surgical options can include using internal fixations such as screws and plates. These procedures require the surgeon to make an open wound and fix the fracture under both direct vision and sometimes with x-ray technology.In almost all cases the limb will be protected with a plaster cast following surgery for at least 6 weeks.
Preventing A Fracture.Unfortunately accidents cannot be prevented all of the time so acute fractures may be unavoidable. Stress fractures however can be prevented sometimes by ensuring appropriate and correctly fitting foot wear is selected and for those who are on their feet for a long time repeatedly, some degree of cushioning to the heel area of the foot wear may help to absorb some of the pressure put upon this bone.
The heel bone is an area that can become damaged through constant and over use or from accidental injury. It is a painful fracture to encounter and sometimes goes undetected due to the location of the bone and the types of fractures sustained.