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Family Foot & Ankle

How to Heal Your Heel Fracture

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In pro wrestling, a character who suddenly (and often shockingly) goes from “good” to “evil” in a storyline is said to have made a “heel turn.” If you’re in a car accident, fall from a ladder, or suffer another high-impact injury that causes your calcaneus to break, your heel can turn into a painful foe as well.

Unfortunately, heel fractures are rarely a simple fix. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, you may be looking at a 2-3 month respite (or longer) from weight-bearing activity, and a full recovery period that may last up to 2 years. In severe cases, you may never fully return to previous levels of heel and ankle function. Long-term complications are also possible, including arthritis and chronic pain. That’s why it’s crucial to follow care instructions and protect your heel from re-injury.

The road to recovery starts with a visit to Family Foot and Ankle Center for an accurate evaluation and diagnosis. Since a heel fracture can come in many different forms, the right treatment method will vary. Surgery is usually (but not always) necessary, followed by a period of immobilization and rest.

Immediately after your injury, RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, elevation) can be an effective tool for managing pain. Keep weight off your foot, use ice and light compression to dull discomfort and minimize swelling, and elevate your foot as often as you can above heart level.

Once our doctors thinks you’re ready, you can begin to move your foot and ankle and start physical therapy exercises. This may be painful at first, but as your flexibility and range of motion gradually improve, and your supporting muscles strengthen, the discomfort will diminish and you’ll be able to return to more activities. Don’t put weight on your foot before you get the go-ahead, though, as you can displace the bones or break any plates and screws that may have been inserted during surgery.

As always, refraining from smoking and alcohol abuse, eating a healthy diet, and even keeping a positive mental attitude can aid healing and recovery.

If a debilitating heel fracture has you in severe pain or restricting your activity, call Family Foot and Ankle Center right away. Recovery from a heel fracture is rarely easy, so you want the very best foot care team on your side. Dial (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 to set up an appointment today.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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