The skateboard park at Beebe Park in Mission Viejo and Etnies Skatepark in Lake Forest are popular places in summer, but both have rules stating that you skate entirely at your own risk. You are required to wear proper helmet and knee and elbow pads, but injuries often occur in wrists and ankles, and all it would take is one disastrous Top Gun to land hard and break a heel bone. Part of treating such a break is to know when heel fractures need surgery. At Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists, we have the knowledge and experience to make this decision.
Many times a heel bone can develop a stress fracture from overuse, and these will normally heal without surgery using conservative therapies like rest and wearing a protective boot. Even when the bone is crushed by a hard fall or when it is jammed into the floorboard in an auto accident, studies show that these fractures may not need surgery if other treatments are followed properly.
Heel fractures can often heal quite well with 1) rest—which means no weight-bearing for 10 to 12 weeks, 2) elevation of the foot to reduce swelling, 3) range of motion exercises to regain full function in the ankle joint, and 4) medications for unusual pain.
However, if the bone is seriously fragmented or displaced, surgery is sometimes preferable to help the bone heal in the correct position. We say sometimes, because the procedure to repair the calcaneus requires great technical skill, and many times leads to a high rate of complications afterwards, like infection and non-healing wounds. If you have any risk factors like poor blood flow or diabetes, or if you are older and may have problems doing the necessary rehab, surgery is usually not recommended.
If you injure your heel in a fall or accident, be sure to come in and have us check it out. X-rays will help us figure out how bad the break is and whether nor not it needs surgery. Call Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists in Mission Viejo at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) for a consultation about the best treatment