High-energy car crashes, such as a head-on collision, can leave Denver drivers susceptible to certain injuries. A calcaneus (heel) fracture is an example. Depending on the severity of the injury, it could lead to disability in the short-term or long-term.
Types of Calcaneus Fractures
The type of calcaneus fracture will determine the course of treatment and prognosis. The following are common types of heel bone fractures according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
- closed – bones don’t break through the skin but there can still be significant soft tissue damage;
- open – bones that break through skin which increases risk of infection and damage to ligaments, muscles and tendons;
- stable – broken ends of bones are aligned and usually heal without surgery;
- displaced – broken ends of bones aren’t aligned and the injury generally requires surgery; and
- comminuted – bone shatters into pieces.
Getting proper treatment is critical, since a broken heel bone can prevent the patient from walking. This in turn can affect the ability to work and perform routine daily tasks. When the bones haven’t been displaced, nonsurgical treatment could be all that’s necessary. But even this can lead to short-term disability.
Nonsurgical Treatment for Calcaneus Fracture
Some type of immobilization device, such as a cast, will help keep the bones in position while healing. The patient won’t be able to put weight on that foot for a couple of months or sometimes longer.
Depending on the patient’s job, this could lead to missed time from work and a loss of income. When the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, those lost wages and the medical costs for any treatment or medical devices may be addressed and compensated by a claim.
Surgical Treatment for a Calcaneus Fracture
In some cases a doctor may recommend a closed reduction procedure where the patient is under anesthesia while the doctor manipulates the bones back into place. This is a less invasive type of procedure.
Even when surgery is necessary, sometimes it has to be put off until the swelling has decreased. But certain types of fractures necessitate immediate surgery, according to information from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, such as an open fracture. No matter when it takes place, the recovery will be longer if the fracture requires surgery.
The type of surgery depends on the extent of damage. In a minor procedure, it may be possible to move the bones back into place and then make small incisions where screws are used to hold the pieces of bone together. In a more severe fracture, surgery is performed to reposition the bone fractures and hold them together with screws or metal plates.
Some type of rehabilitation will be necessary. But unfortunately, those with more serious injuries might suffer some permanent loss of function or complications such as chronic pain.
Getting Help Filing a Legal Claim after a Denver Accident
The damages car accident victims can seek may include more than just missed time from work (which could be extensive) or the medical bills for treatment (which could also be substantial). When it results in long-term or permanent disability, additional forms of compensation like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more could also be available.
Talk to D.J. Banovitz if you suffered a heel fracture or other injury that leads to significant medical costs and other damages. Call 303-300-5060 to set up a consultation with an attorney.