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Calcaneus fracture


I am in a spot right now and I am not sure what to do.
Maybe there are some people out there that could share thoughts on my problem.
I shattered my heel about a month ago 6/28/04.
I have pretty much planned to get surgery on Thursday 7/22/04 but the doctor tells me that my range of motion in the fracture will decrease.
He went from “you need the surgery” to “you may be able to get away with out it” however stating that I would probably need subtalar fusion in the future because of arthritis.
What I am wondering about is: Should I get the surgery?
I do not have health insurance and I will be seen as an outpatient for the operation and have to pay close to 10K out of pocket (recently un-employed as well – after 5 years at same company). Now from what I was told there is still a risk for arthritis and future Subtalar fusion if the arthritis gets too bad.
I am a pretty healthy 27 year old and I almost want to just see if I will bounce back from this for some time without the operation, and knowing that the fusion surgery is inevitable will I be able to walk in the future with the fusion surgery. Also in the future I am sure that I will have insurance and I can get the fusion surgery with insurance helping a lot.
I cannot get any type of financial assistance (as this state (FL – Pinellas County) doesn’t offer anything to people on unemployment and a little above the 750/mo for Social Services).Any advice or stories shared would be great! Thanks


  1. I am having the surgery done in two and a half weeks. I had my accident on 09-Nov-02 (nearly two years ago). I was very active and have continued to be so. Due to the cronic pain that I go through daily, it was recommended that I have the surgery done. I had a contizone shot and that lasted 3 days (try that before you opt for surgery). It took me 10 months wait to get a good doctor to book me in.

  2. I had a broken calcaneus, broken on Jan. 7th 2004 and had surgery to repair this. I had the Os Calsis (Atkins) surgical procedure with a plate and I think, seven screws. I have had extensive rehab therapy for five months.I was told that without the surgery I would never walk again, and most likely need a fusion later to fix this. I chose the surgery, reluctanly, and I feel it was the right decision. I can now walk relatively well with minimal pain and discomfort. They tell me this will improve with time as it takes a full year from surgery date to fully recover. So, one must be patient. I feel I have already regained around 45 to 50% of my range of motion. With the most difficulty in the Subtalar Joint area thus preventing my Inversion and eversion motion to return. However, they tell me this too in time will improve to perhaps 65% of my original motion.Each one of us has to make the final decision, however I feel that surgery is the best solution. Mind you, it’s a painful surgery, and recovery is long. But, you can do this, I did, and others have as well, and most do OK. You have an advantage over me, as you are younger than I by 23 years and will heal quicker as a rule. I hope this helps you, and a lot depends on the severity of the break, and the distance you fell. The higher up you were means gravity pulled you down that much harder usually resulting in a worse break than from a short distance fall. Consider this, if they do surgery now they can restore the Heel bone to it’s original heigth and size pretty accurately. However, if you leave it to heal alone, you’ll be stuck with what position the bones are in when broken. That is not a good thing to leave broken bones in an un-natural position. Best they be placed back into their natural position as close as possible. Take care, and best of luck in what ever you decide to do.By the way, I still have days that I am worse than others, and I was in a NON Weight bearing mode for three months, with an Orthotic Walking Boot for one month before wearing a normal shoe.Also am limited as to how far, and how long I can be onthis foot without starting to have pain and fatique of muscles.So, as I said, it’s a long road to a full recovery, and you must expect this so you know ahead that it does take time. And lots of it!

  3. hi at the age of 36 on july 4 2002 i shattered my left calcaneus… (at least 7 pieces ) it frankly sucked !!! and anybody out there that has had it happen knows .. at the hospital that day i left thinking that i was going to need surgery to repair it … however the follwing monday i went to see a orthopedic surgeon that the hospital recomended and he took some additional x-rays and even though the break was very bad he elected to not do any surgery … the reason was my sub talor joint was still lined up and he did not think that surgery could improve my future range in motion.. after 2 years and a couple months i still deal with tollerable pain and discomfort …some days are better than others .. and i believe my range of motion is still improving … i would guess that right now my range of motion is betweeen 85 and 90 percent … good luck i hope that it all works out .

    • I recently shattered my calcaneous bone and collapsed the sub talor joint completely. I had surgery two days after than, and now am into a week of the healing process.My god I can’t believe the horrible pain from this. When is it going to let up? I’m on percocet, and that definitely dulls the pain. But I’m lying around with my foot propped up, and there is no longer a comfortable position for me. Owie it hurts like hell.Dana

  4. On the surface, reading what other people have had may give you some information, but I should caution you. Every situation is different. You doctor is correct in telling you the range of possibilities. No one can be sure exactly what and when it will happen, if at all.I recommend you ask for copies of your x-rays and records and get several other opinions from doctors who can see your foot and the x-rays.

    • Hi! I just read with great interest your accounts of your dealing with a calcaneous fracture. Thanks so much for sharing. I was hiking in NC the middle of Oct. and slipped on a rock and fell down a waterfall about 15 feet. I broke my left calcaneous and my right knee. Was in a wheelchair for almost 7 weeks. Didn’t have surgery because everything was lined up, although my heel reminded me of a jigsaw puzzle it was broken in so many pieces. Now… I’m trying to walk. My husband bought me memory foam slippers with a hard sole from Brookstone and they have helped alot, but I’m going crazy with the swelling of my foot. Any recommendations? I’m stiff in the morning, but by nighttime I’m in a lot of pain. Any ideas of what to do would be great? My orthopaedist wasn’t too helpful. He said, “I could send you to physical therapy, but try walking for a few weeks and then see what you want to do.” Oh, by the way I walk by using a walker. Thanks, Lisa