Heel Fractures: A Step Toward Healing

(VIDEO: Orthopedic surgeon Christopher Hodgkins, M.D., talks about the complexities of a fractured heel and the surgery that can fix it.)

When Jeff Courtemanche fell off a ladder, his foot absorbed the weight of his body. The pain was immediate and severe. A visit to the orthopedic specialist confirmed the severity of his injury – an acutely fractured heel.

“I knew I had a very serious and complicated injury,” Mr. Courtemanche said. “After the doctor was straightforward with me and explained what needed to be done, I felt confident my foot would be able to heal.”

Christopher Hodgkins, M.D., a Baptist Health Medical Group orthopedic surgeon with Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute, diagnoses heel fractures with a CT scan. A surgeon specialized in foot and ankle injuries and conditions, he says heel fractures that result in a lot of fragmentation can be difficult to fix. Most of these fractures are caused by a high-energy accident, such as a car accident or fall from a certain height.

“Injuries to the foot are very complex to assess, diagnose and treat,” said Dr. Hodgkins. “The heel is an important bone in the body because it contributes to a lot of movement and side-to-side motion. When it breaks in to a lot of different pieces, we need to reconstruct the joint. Heel fractures as severe as Mr. Courtemanche’s are very rare and require a surgeon very experienced in treating them.”

To address these types of fractures, Dr. Hodgkins uses a special surgical technique called arthroscopic-aided fracture reduction. The method involves using special equipment, screws and plates to put the bones back together.

“The goal is to line up the cartiladge and reconstruct the joint as perfectly as possible to allow for pain-free motion,” he said. After Mr. Courtemanche’s surgery and rehabilitation, he is back to doing activities he enjoys, such as playing golf.

The Baptist Health News Team talks to Dr. Hodgkins about what it takes to make the surgery successful. Watch it now.

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