What are the surgical complications from a calcaneus fracture?

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A calcaneus fracture is considered as a common injury affecting the tarsal bone in the lower leg. In most cases of calcaneus fractures, it occurs due to high-impact trauma in which the individual experienced a fall or vehicular accident.

Calcaneus fractures would require surgical repair once the bone is displaced. Surgery might be required as an open reduction and internal fixation or ORIF procedure. It can also be done as a percutaneous screw fixation in which pieces are fixed in place using a small-sized incision. Always bear in mind that various complications can develop if surgery is used to repair a calcaneus fracture.


The pain that develops after surgery can be caused by various factors. In most cases, many experience pain from the hardware that was used in holding the bones together. The pain can also occur from joint stiffness and diminished mobility as well.

Calcaneus fracture
The pain that develops after surgery can be caused by various factors. In most cases, many experience pain from the hardware that was used in holding the bones together.

If damage is sustained to the sural nerve which is located in the exterior of the heel, it can lead to pain or numbness along the nerve. The cause of damage can occur due to injury or surgery. Additionally, irritation to the tendons that surround the screws utilized in fixation can also trigger pain.

Wound issues

Due to the soft tissue injury involved during a calcaneus fracture, reduced blood flow and swelling to the affected area can result to wound dehiscence, poor healing and infection in the wound or bone.

Since good blood flow is vital for the healing process, nonunion of the fracture is also likely to occur. Take note that the danger for wound issues are increased among those who are diabetics, those who regularly smoke and those who have open wounds. In some cases, compartment syndrome in which there is swelling will lead to nerve and tissue damage that can progress to the clawing of the toes which will affect the mobility. You can learn more about proper wound care and infection prevention measures if you will enroll in a first aid class today.

Blood clots

The formation of blood clots or deep vein thrombosis can occur after any surgery which involves immobilization. The clots typically form in the calf of the leg. In case a piece of the blood clot breaks up, it can embed in the brain or lungs, causing a stroke or pulmonary embolism. Take note that pulmonary embolus can lead to lung damage and even death in rare cases.

Mobility issues

The normal mobility of the foot and ankle is reduced after a calcaneus fracture surgery. Even an altered gait is also common with problems walking uphill or on uneven surfaces. The stiffness of the joints and arthritis in the joint from the injury can also contribute to the diminished mobility.

If any of these complications manifest after a surgery to repair a calcaneus fracture, it is best to consult a doctor so that appropriate steps can be taken to prevent the worsening of the condition.

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