The calcaneum is another name for the heel bone, which is just below the ankle joint, which, like any bone can break or fracture following injury.
Commonly caused by a high-energy injury such as a fall from a height or road traffic collision but a less severe fracture of the bone can occur with seemingly innocuous injury such as a twist or fall of a step and impact directed on the heel bone.
Pain is usually fairly significant over the sole of the foot by the heel. The swelling and bruising that develops around the heel, ankle and even foot can be quite dramatic.
It is important to elevate the leg as much as possible but also get properly assessed by an Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon in a hospital as soon as you can.
The clinical examination with significant pain and swelling over the heel is typical. An X-Ray of the foot and a CT (computerised tomography) is done also. The CT can help to decide whether an operation may be required or not.
Many less severe breaks can be treated without surgery. In more severe injuries the treatment is quite contentious because the increased risk of surgical complications can influence a decision to treat the injury non-operatively. This is typically seen in diabetic patients and heavy smokers. The patient however should be well informed by the surgeon as to the risks and complications of both operative and non-operative treatment to be able to make an informed choice. Newer techniques can reduce the risk of post-operative complications such as wound infection by using smaller incisions and different metal fixation devices. Mr Roche can offer all methods of treatment for this injury.
If your injury is less severe, full recovery could be expected with return to sports activities. Unfortunately if your injury is more severe, even if it heals initially with no problems, patients can have difficulty with heavy manual or walking jobs and return to sporting activities. It is not always a very easy injury to rehabilitate successfully from, irrespective of treatment administered.