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Posted by Scott10 on November 29, 2000 at 00:48:48:


Iím a 32 year old male who suffered a bilateral calcaneus fractures from a 20í fall late last year. The accident occurred at work where I was knocked off of an extension ladder. Iíve been told that this is the most common fractured tarsal bone. Following the accident, I had severe heel pain and could walk or stand. I had severe hind foot swelling and extreme tenderness as well.

My initial treatment for my displaced fractures included immobilization in bulky dressings and splints, with ice and elevation to control edema. A week later, the fractures were managed operatively [open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF)]. Two lag screws per heel to be exact.

I was sent home a week later in a wheel chair and two ďwalkingĒ boots. A basically laid around for two months followed by physical therapy involving stretching. I graduated to a walker and then crutches. I went back to surgery to have the screw removed because I had difficulty wearing shoes. A month later, I was going nuts and returned to work only to be diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Iím seeing a therapist now.

From what Iíve been able to gather and from my personal experience, bilateral calcaneal fractures are devastating injuries (these injuries occur secondary to high energy trauma usually a fall from a height or a motor vehicle accident). The patients with this type of injury historically have not done well whether ORIF was performed or conservative (non-operative) care chosen. Common is a "wait and see" attitude. Although I was back to work in four months with restrictions, most patients are usually not able to resume normal function or return to work for approximately six months. Once they try to work or stay on their feet for long periods of time, the pain in the subtalar joint is too great for them to proceed. This may require a salvage fusion and another 6-9 months of rehabilitation. Iíve been fortunate in that sense. I do experience a substantial amount of residual stiffness of the subtalar joints that have adversely affected what little athletic abilities I possess. I also have smashed heels pads which feels like a constant pain/bone bruise and extreme sensitivity to the hind foot area (bone scars). My Dr. also mentioned that I exhibit possible symptoms of reflex sympathetic dystrophy due to ankle instability.

Iíve been back to work (with restrictions) for almost 11 months and Iím going to be declared permanent and stationary with regards to my physical injury early next year. My psych is still ongoing. My present employer and direct supervisors have been very supportive and are willing to make adjustments with regards to my position in the company. I have absolutely no complaints with regards to the medical care I have received nor the my employerĎs treatment. My Dr. said heís going to rate me at semi-sedentary (translation: desk job w/ minimal standing).

My questions are:
Have you had a case similar to mine?
Iím really concerned about the potential arthritic pain in my later years (Iíll keep an open medical, but how long does that last and should I worry?).
Although Iíll be P&S, I feel like Iím still going to heal more. Howís that going to affect my rating?
Do I really need an attorney (convince me)?
What would be my advantages of having one?
How is that going to affect my relationship with my bosses?
Will my reduced work capacity affect my marketability regarding future employment?
Will future employers have access to workers compensation records?
I know you have heard this before, how much of a settlement (strictly a rough estimate based on your experience w/ similar cases) and what type of settlement options am I looking at? Including psych?

By the way, the accident was not my fault and was not caused by a 3rd party. Cal/OSHA ruled it as ďunforeseenĒ.

Before you say anything, I've already posted on some legal boards.


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