F18 – Calcaneal Fracture

This is a break to your heel bone


It can take up to 6-12 weeks for this fracture to heal.

Smoking will slow down your healing. We would advise that you stop smoking while your injury heals. Talk to your GP or go to www.smokefree.nhs.uk for more information.

Pain and swelling:

An ankle being rested on two pillows and supported with an ice pack

You may have foot pain and swelling for 3-6 months after your injury. Swelling is often worse at the end of the day.

Taking pain medication, elevating your foot and using ice or cold packs will help. More information is in the next section.

Walking and your boot:

A fracture support boot

The boot protects your foot and will make you more comfortable. Wear the boot when you are standing and walking. You can take it off at night and at rest. You need to wear the boot for at least 6 weeks after your injury. Please inform us if you are diabetic; you may require a specialist boot.

You are allowed to put weight through your foot as comfort allows however you should limit the amount of walking you do. You are likely to need crutches to help with this.


It is important to start exercises as soon as possible. Instructions are in the next section.

Follow up:

You will receive a face to face appointment in the Fracture Clinic 6 weeks after your injury. If you have not received your appointment letter within 2 weeks please contact the Fracture clinic.

Any questions:

If you are concerned about your symptoms, are unable to follow this rehabilitation plan or have pain other than at the site of your injury please contact the Virtual Fracture Clinic team.

Caring for your injury

DVT (deep vein thrombosis):

DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is a blood clot in a vein, usually the leg. Because you are limiting your mobility, you may be at higher risk of developing a DVT. You may have been given some blood thinning medication to cover you for this period of time. However, if you are under 16, you will not be given a blood thinner unless you are taking an oral contraceptive.

Symptoms of DVT in the leg are:

  • throbbing or cramping pain in 1 leg (rarely both legs), usually in the calf or thigh
  • swelling in 1 leg (rarely both legs)
  • warm skin around the painful area
  • red or darkened skin around the painful area
  • swollen veins that are hard or sore when you touch them

If you notice any of these symptoms, please call 111 immediately and get further advice or attend the Emergency Department.

Remember to wear your boot whenever standing and walking. You can remove the boot when resting, at night and to wash and dress. Wear a long sock in your boot. You will be told when to stop wearing the boot at your follow up appointment. You should limit the amount of weight bearing you do for the first 6 weeks.

It is normal to still have mild discomfort and swelling. This may continue for 6-12 months

Using a cold pack will help with your pain and swelling. You can use an ice pack or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a damp towel. Put this on your foot for up to 15 minutes every few hours. Make sure the ice is not in direct contact with your skin.

Try to rest your foot, especially in the first 24-72 hours. Raise your foot on a stool or cushions to that it is above the level of your hip. This will help to reduce your swelling.


Early movement of the ankle and foot is important to promote circulation and reduce the risk of developing a Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot). If you notice any swelling or redness in the calf, please attend A&E.

Do these exercises 3-4 times a day. Start straight away, you do not need to push into pain.

Ankle Exercises

Point your foot up and down. Repeat this 10 times.

Rest with your leg supported.

Point your foot up and down. Repeat this 10 times.

Activity and Exercise

Keep doing the exercises until you have recovered full movement of the foot.

When your specialist advises, gradually increase your level of activity. You should avoid impact activity for 3 months. This includes running and jumping.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am struggling with my boot. What do I do?

The boot has a thicker sole; this can make you feel uneven. Make sure you wear a supportive shoe or trainer on your uninjured foot. This will reduce stress on other joints.

If you need more advice contact the Virtual Fracture Clinic.

I am diabetic, does this change things?

If you are diabetic please contact us to discuss your boot. This is particularly important if you have problems with your skin. We may provide you with a specialist diabetic boot.

When can I start driving?

You can return to driving when:

  • You are no longer using your boot
  • You can walk comfortably
  • You can perform an emergency stop pain free

Always test your ability to drive in a safe environment first.

How can I get a certificate for work?

You can self-certify for the first 7 days following your injury. For any longer periods, please discuss the provision of a fitness to work statement with the Virtual Fracture Clinic Team or your GP.

What do I do with my boot and crutches when I no longer need them?

We are not able to use boots again. These should not be returned to the hospital.

Crutches can be returned to the Fracture Clinic or A&E.

Contact Details for Bedford and Luton

Please contact the hospital where you attended A&E as the other site will not be able to access your notes


How do I contact the Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC)

How do I contact the Fracture Clinic?

  • Telephone 01234 792138

How do I contact the Plaster Room?

  • Telephone 01234 792031
  • Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (out of hours contact the Emergency Department)


How do I contact the Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC)

  • Telephone 01582 718121
  • Messages will be checked every morning Monday to Friday (except for Bank Holidays)
  • Email VFCLuton@ldh.nhs.uk

How do I contact the Fracture Clinic?

  • Telephone 01582 497194 or 01582 718 993 (outpatient appointments)

How do I contact the Plaster Room?

  • Telephone 01582 491166 (ext. 2233)
  • Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (out of hours contact the Emergency Department)