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The Broken Heel Bone: Can It Heal Itself?

By Ann Butenas
 
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While I have had my share of foot issues, such as hammer toes, bunions, and generally fatigued and aching feet, I cannot even begin to imagine the pain one must sustain when a heel bone has been broken. Since so much of our weight is put upon that part of our body, it makes me cringe to just think of the pain involved when the heel bone is fractured.

The heel bone, also known as the calcaneus, is the foundation for the back end of the foot. According to Foot Health Facts, it has been compared to a hard-boiled egg, due to its thin, hard shell covering over a softer, spongier bone on the inside. When the outer shell is broken, much like a cracked egg, the bone will collapse and fragment. Understandably, a fracture of the heel bone is a very serious issue, and if the fracture also involves the joints, you are potentially at risk for developing arthritis later on or experiencing a lifetime of chronic pain.

Heel fractures usually result from a traumatic injury, such as falling from a significant height or injuring the bone in a car accident. These calcaneal fractures may also occur as a result of an ankle sprain and recurring stress on the heel bone.

Heel fractures may not always involve the joints, but when they do, these are the most serious kinds of fractures, as they may also damage the connecting tissue between the bones. Recovery time for such an injury all depends upon the severity of the fracture.

As for the symptoms of a heel or calcaneal fracture, those largely depend upon whether the fracture is traumatic or stress-related. If it is a traumatic fracture, there will be sudden pain in the heel, and you will be unable to put any weight on it. The area around the heel and ankle will be noticeably swollen as well as appear bruised. If the injury is a stress fracture, you will probably notice pain in the area of the heel that progresses over time.

Of course, treatment of a broken heel bone will largely depend upon the type of fracture sustained and the severity of the fracture. Not all fractures require surgical intervention. For some, employing the RICE method is all that is necessary.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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