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Kunemon 09-22-2009 07:09 AM

Fractured Calcaneus - Few questions to ask
Hi, i'm new here on this forum and i've been reading some threads on the Fractured Calcaneus.. I personally have some questions to ask.

I'm a 20 year old male living in Singapore and i broke my heel after falling down the stairs with a slight sprain at my ankle at night and i went to the hospital the next day.

The doctor initially didn't see any problem from the xray and my foot was casted and i was on clutches for a week from 17th to 23th on August 2009.

Because it was extremely painful, I went back to the hospital on the 24th and upon removing the cast, discovered that my feet was swelled up and bruised. The specialist then admitted me to the hospital for a CT scan on the 26th and he told me that my heel was broken into several pieces and i needed an operation. And so i was scheduled for surgery on the 27th and was shown the xray that i have a metal piece with several screws which the surgeon said was to hold my fractured bones together and hopes that it heals together.

I was then discharged on the 31st and i was on clutches, and i have no cast on. The doctor also mentioned that the metals will be permanent in my heel and theres no need to take it out unless it affects me.

I'm curious as the doctor did not put me back on a cast and i've been 'exercising' my foot so it doesn't feel stiff. It has regained a little bit of strength currently and i'm able to move it up and down on its own.

If i'm not on a cast, would it mean that my injury is not that serious and does this mean it'll take a shorter time to heal up?

And it has been pretty troublesome since i'm missing school for a long period. So i'm hoping that it does get well faster. How long roughly would the heel start to heal so i'm able to walk once more?

I've been taking vitamin C tablets and drinking 2 glasses of milk a day. How much do you think this would help in shortening the time for recovery?

These are the questions i have in my head and after asking the doctor i've not been very convinced by him after reading several similar cases on this forum. He has mentioned that i roughly need 2 to 3 months to be able to start walking again, do you guys think its possible or would it take longer?

Duramax 09-24-2009 02:11 PM

Re: Fractured Calcaneus - Few questions to ask
Hi, Kunemon:

My husband shattered his heel the first week in April of 2009. The foot specialist wouldn't do surgery until the swelling went down so he waited a week. He was not put in a cast after surgery--just a hard fiberglass splint that was wrapped with an Ace bandage--and that was just to protect the foot while he was walking around on crutches. He took it off any time he was sitting or while in bed. I actually believe this helped him maintain a better range of motion. However, having said that, not being put in a cast does NOT mean that you don't have a serious break. It's just differences in doctors. My husband's break was pretty bad and he needed a plate and six screws put in.

The bone heels in six weeks--you shouldn't try putting any weight on it until that time. At his 6-week check up, the doctor told my husband to throw away the crutches as long as he walked in a "boot" (a plastic/velcro protective device that goes from toe to knee with a rocking device in it for walking) for a week or two.

Of course, he couldn't just throw away the crutches at 6 weeks, but he used one crutch for a week and then walked without crutches, but using the boot, for another week. After that he could walk on his own. Although he needed to take it easy.

It has been five months since my husband's break and other than some stiffness and swelling, he gets around very well and can do just about anything he could before. He does limp some--especially if he's been on his feet all day. But we've been told that sometimes it takes a year to two years to recover from a fractured heel. They are serious injuries. He's 46 years old and farms so is a very active guy.

Kunemon 09-24-2009 10:33 PM

Re: Fractured Calcaneus - Few questions to ask
I see.. thanks for the reply =)

I see a great difference because i was bandaged only for 2 weeks as said to protect the surgery wound. And after my stitches was removed they didn't bandage it or anything. So i was just barefooted and i double checked with the doctor, i have a plate with 8 screws in it and he said from the xRay my calcaneus looked kind of hollow.

I went back for a checkup yesterday and the doctor told me to start exercising my foot to get the momentum back so i can walk in another 4 to 6 weeks. ( Its already 4 weeks past since my surgery) And the doctor did not talk about me having to wear the "boot" that you mentioned.

As for swelling, it has already gone down quite well. And i was supposed to do rehab exercises for my leg as it has lost alot of muscles due to inactivity.

Actually i've been more concerned about being able to walk as soon as possible because its affecting me greatly.I was curious about the difference in treatment after surgery in the different countries and was wondering why the time for recovery varies so much from person to person. Or was it that the doctors just told me an average for the time taken to recover?

tchair 09-25-2009 09:07 AM

Re: Fractured Calcaneus - Few questions to ask

Good answers from Duramax. There's just a few things I can add.
You're lucky you have permission to work on the foot so soon. Many are stuck in a cast and have a hard time getting things loose afterwards. Take advantage, but don't go further than the doc allows.
The standard time to weight bearing was 12 weeks. Over the past year a lot of people have been given the OK at 8 weeks. It may be new info the doctors have or just a lot of less severe injuries.
Recovery time has a lot to do with the degree of injury - just fractured, displaced, collateral damage to joints and tendons. Those who dedicate them selves to full recovery seem to reach the best outcomes. To me the trick is not how quickly you do things such as walking but how much effort you put in throughout each day to prepare for it.


Kunemon 09-25-2009 10:37 PM

Re: Fractured Calcaneus - Few questions to ask
Hi Tim,

Thanks for the advice.. I'm not supposed to step on it yet i guess.. I heard from my physiotherapist about being able to have partial weight on it at 8 weeks but i guess that has to be up to the doctor after he looks at the XRay..

My next XRay and visit to the hospital is still quite some time away so i guess i should just work on what my physiotherapist had told me to do..

Thanks for answering my questions, i'm now slightly more clear of what i need to do.. Greatly appreciated.. =)

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