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Old 06-24-2012, 07:30 PM   #1
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Calcaneus Fracture Recovery?

I've read lots of posts on here, but this is my first post. On 5/26/12 I crashed on my bike and broke my calcaneus. It was fractured in 6 locations. I am seeing a Podiatrist (surgeon), who recommended that I didn't need surgery. He said even though there were lots of fractures, none of them were displaced enough to need surgery. He also said that there is one big fracture that gets really close to the sub-talar joint, but he doesn't think made it there. So if he is right, that is good news. He put me in a boot, said to be non-weight bearing, and come back in 4 weeks. The pain was really bad at first, but has gradually gone down over the weeks. I just went to my 4 week appointment where he took new X-rays. The X-rays didn't look much different to me than my first ones, but the doc thought it seemed to be healing well. He said it was more that my pain was going down than what my X-rays looked like that made him think it was healing well. He could squeeze my heel pretty hard without pain. There are only a couple spots that have pain when squeezing pretty hard.

At the 4 week appointment, he said I could start putting weight on it and work towards walking, using pain as my guide. He also said I could start wearing normal shoes with good support. Basically, just use pain as my guide. I have another appointment in 4 more weeks, where he expects that I'll be 90% pain free and walking fine. I am 35 yrs old, a skinny 175 pounds, and was in really good shape when the injury happened from riding about 10 hours per week.

I tried putting weight on it, and can put some weight on it without pain, but not all my weight. I put my foot on a scale - I can put about 100 pounds on it, then it starts to hurt.

The reason I am confused and am posting here, is that everything I have read online is that I should be NWB for quite a bit longer than 4 weeks. I have read anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks seems normal for an injury like this. My question, is my doc getting me going too soon? Is it bad to use pain as my quide? Can I be doing further damage or delaying the fracture healing by putting weight on it too soon? I am following my docs orders strictly, but still concerned.

I have X-rays that I would post if I could figure out how to attach them.

What should I do?

 
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:26 AM   #2
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Re: Calcaneus Fracture Recovery?

I have heard of partial weight bearing earlier then 9 weeks, though not alot. It does sound like you may be lucky, if your subtalar joint is not damaged. Also keep in mind it is only partial weight bearing.

If the doc said 10%, multiply it by your body weight. People then put there toe on the sale until they get to that weight, to get a feel for how much weight they can put on it.

Recovery and treatment varies alot. I think the theory about putting weight on early is the break hardens up. Dunno. Doc said to I would, but I would take it very easy.


Also I would get a 2nd opinion, on not having surgery, or having surgery for that matter. I didn't have surgery, and lots don't, and lots do. But I would talk to a 2nd doc.
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:10 PM   #3
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Re: Calcaneus Fracture Recovery?

I've been doing a lot of research lately since I was so confused why my doc would let me be weight bearing as tolerated so soon. What I am finding is that the location of the fracture has a large impact on recovery times.


<removed disallowed website>


In a type 1a fracture, you can start weight bearing as tolerated right away. Type 4 and 5 fractures can take much longer - months after surgery. From reading a lot of posts here, most everyone here seems to have type 4 and 5 fractures, which explains the long recovery times.

From reading and self diagnosis, I think I have a type 2 fracture. I have 6 fractures, but all are in posterior aspect of the calcaneal tuberosity (or the furthest back part of my calcaneus). But my fracture doesn't go into the sub-talar joint. The suggested treatment on that link above (and a couple others I found) for a type 2 fracture is in line with what my doc has perscribed - 4 weeks NWB, then WB as tolerated.

This at least makes me feel better that I am doing the right thing in starting to put weight on it.

An update on my progress - I am 2 days short of 6 weeks from my crash and am doing much better. As my doc said, I am gradually putting more weight on it. I am now walking with 1 crutch and feel I am close to ditching both crutches. I've also ditched the boot and am using a good running shoe with good support and padding. It gets pretty sore by the end of the day, but seems to be getting better. My goal is to walk into my 8 week appointment with no limp - we'll see.

I'll try to continue to post updates, even as it gets better...

 
Old 07-05-2012, 04:29 PM   #4
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Re: Calcaneus Fracture Recovery?

I also wanted to post some of the things I am doing to hopefully speed my recovery. I am no doctor or expert and this may not be ideal for you, but this is what I have been doing and seems to be working:

1. Exercise - I have been trying to exercise 2 to 4 times per week since week 1. I have been doing leg exercises at the gym including leg extension and hip adductor/abductor. This puts no weight on my foot/heel and allows me to help preserve a little muscle in my thigh. It also gets the blood flowing in the leg, which will hopefully help. You get some strange looks hobbling around the gym on crutches, but I don't care what people think. Since week 5 when I was given the green light to be PWB, I have been riding the stationary bike at easy levels to get the leg working and blood flowing.

2. Diet - I have been avoiding sodas, caffeine, sugar, salt, and alcohol (although I have caved a few times for some beer). From what I've read, all these can rid your body of calcium and delay healing. I've been trying to eat a lot of green veggies which are supposed to have good calcium.

3. Supplerments - I have been taking Cissus Quadrangularis, Citrical Bone Density Builder, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C.

4. Pain meds - I quit taking all pain meds and ainti-inflamatory meds immediately. I read that all of these can delay the natural healing process. It made for some tough nights, but I think it helped speed the process.

5. I got an Exogen 4000 on Ebay. If you read up on them, there seems to be some good evidence that they really work to speed things up. 400 bucks on Ebay - a bit expensive, but if it gets me back to work and being a normal father a couple weeks sooner, it's more than worth it.

I've also been doing the obvious thing of lots of icing and elevating when I can.

That's what I've been doing. Again, I am no expert, but am trying to learn and do the right things for a speedy recovery. Thought I would share what I'm doing.

 
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:12 AM   #5
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Re: Calcaneus Fracture Recovery?

You are alot better off then some, since you did not damage your subtalar joint. I wouldn't worry so much about the anti inflamatories and pain meds hurting your recovery. I suspect you are splitting hairs, and will be better off with the comfort. Same for caffeine and some alcohol.
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