Your heel bone has to be strong to bear your weight as you land on it with every step. However, it is not indestructible. It can fracture in a car accident that jams your foot against the floorboard, a fall from some height, or even from a hard twist or repetitive trauma during activity.
Even if there are only small hairline cracks on the surface, you need to make sure they heal properly, because once the outer shell has cracked, the heel bone tends to collapse and break apart. This is a very serious injury that is often accompanied by damage to the surrounding joints and can lead to arthritis, stiffness, and chronic pain.
So how do you heal your heel? Here are five basic steps to follow:
- Stay off the foot. This is the crucial first step that could make the difference between full healing and life-long problems. Don’t make the injury worse by putting weight on it.
- Have your injury diagnosed. It is crucial to determine where and how bad the damage is. When you come in we’ll ask questions, examine the foot, and order the necessary imaging tests to pinpoint the problem.
- RICE therapy. The combination of rest, icing, compression and elevation is the go-to first step in treating many injuries. It will start the healing process and hold down swelling and inflammation to manageable levels.
- Immobilization. If the bone is cracked but still aligned properly, it may heal well if it is immobilized for a stretch of time. We’ll determine whether this would be a correct treatment for your injury.
- Surgery. If the bone is displaced (fragments moved out of position) or crushed, the best outcomes usually involve surgery to reconstruct the bone. If the skin is broken, this will be done immediately, but otherwise we may wait a few days for swelling to go down for better results.
You need to take heel fractures seriously, and seek prompt medical treatment if you don’t want to deal with chronic pain and stiffness throughout your life. Call Parker Foot & Ankle right away to have your injury looked at and treated. You can reach us by phone at (281) 497-2850 or online through our contact form. Let our Houston, TX podiatry practice help you heal your heel!
For more information about other heel problems, fill out a request for a copy of our free book, When Your Heels Hurt...You Hurt All Over! We’ll send it right out to you with no further obligation.