Calcaneal Fracture

Calcaneal fracture

A Calcaneal fracture is also known as a broken heel. It is usually caused by falling or jumping from a height. If you suspect an acute calcaneal fracture then seek medical attention immediately.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Chaminda Goonetilleke, 20th Jan. 2022


  • There will usually be a sudden pain in the heel at the time of injury with rapid swelling and bruising developing shortly after.
  • With an acute calcaneal fracture, the athlete will have difficulty putting weight on the foot.
  • A calcaneal stress fracture will have symptoms of heel pain, but it will have come on gradually where the patient cannot pinpoint a specific event that caused the injury.

What is a Calcaneal fracture?

Also known as a broken heel bone, it is a fracture (break) of the Calcaneus bone. It is not common in sport but can result from road traffic accidents or landing badly from a height.

Bruised heel bone - Calcaneus

The calcaneus is the heel bone at the back of the foot. It is protected underneath by a fat pad. Other injuries affecting the heel bone are more common and gradual in onset. They include:

Calcaneal fracture treatment

  • Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect a broken bone.
  • Treatment usually involves immobilizing the foot in a plaster cast for 6 to 8 weeks while it heals.
  • This will prevent the bone from bearing weight.
  • Surgery is sometimes necessary, for example, if the fractured bone parts are out of position or displaced. Or if the fracture has broken the skin (known as an open fracture).


Calcaneal fracture surgery may involve attaching a metal plate to the bones to return them to their normal position. At the same time, it is important to ensure that the cartilage is replaced as close as possible to its original position.

Very occasionally, a fracture will not require a plate. A doctor can explain your best option for you.

After surgery, you may be required to rest your foot and avoid weight-bearing. The recovery period can last up to 3 months.

Related articles

  • Foot pain

    Here we explain the common causes of foot pain including heel, forefoot, arch, top of the foot and toes. Medically reviewed by Dr. Chaminda Goonetilleke,…

  • Heel pain

    Here we explain the common causes of heel pain, including under the heal and at the back of the heel. We also outline other conditions…

  • First aid for heel pain

    First aid for heel pain, as with most sports injuries involves applying the PRICE principles. Most heel injuries are gradual onset. But you may still…

  • When to see a doctor about ankle injuries

    When should you see a doctor about your heel pain? Often people do not want to bother their GP or A&E department. However, if you…

  • Foot arch pain

    Here we explain the causes of pain in the arch of the foot including Plantar fasciitis, Heel spur as well as nerve entrapment's such as…

  • Metatarsal fractures

    A metatarsal fracture is a break to one of the five long metatarsal bones in the foot. Medically reviewed by Dr. Chaminda Goonetilleke, 20th Jan.…

  • Calcaneal fracture

    A calcaneal stress fracture is a hairline fracture of the calcaneus or heel bone. It is usually caused by overuse and is more common in…

  • Foot bones

    A Tarsal fracture is a break of any of the tarsal bones in the foot. Medically reviewed by Dr. Chaminda Goonetilleke, 20th Jan. 2022 Tarsal…

Scroll to Top