Last Updated: 2/26/2024

A calcaneus fracture, or a fractured heel bone, is a significant injury that can impact an individual's ability to work and lead a normal life. In Iowa, these injuries are not uncommon among workers, often needing surgical intervention to stabilize the fractures with plates and screws. Unfortunately, many individuals with this injury never fully recover, facing permanent restrictions such as limited standing or the need for sedentary work.

Causes and Symptoms

This type of fracture has two common causes, both involving a high-impact collision. One common cause is a car accident, like a delivery person injured in a head-on crash. Another common cause is when someone falls from an elevated surface. An example is a construction worker who loses balance on an elevated platform, falls, and lands on his/her feet.

Symptoms of a calcaneal fracture include:

  • swelling;
  • pain;
  • bruising;
  • deformed heel;
  • unable to put weight on heel; and
  • unable to walk.

Severity and Treatment

Depending on the extent of force placed on the heel, it could cause a minor, moderate, or severe fracture. The least serious is a stable fracture, which oftentimes heals by immobilizing it with a brace. With this kind of fracture, the ends of the fractured bones align correctly and remain in place while healing.

A more serious type is a displaced fracture, where the broken ends of the bones don't line up. This may require surgery to put them back together, which may involve using screws and metal plates to hold the bones in place during the healing process.

An open (or compound) fracture is another serious type where the bone penetrates the skin. This open wound increases the risk of infection. It often means injury to bones and soft tissue like ligaments, muscles, and tendons inside the body.

This usually requires immediate surgery and may take longer to heal. With a closed fracture, the bone doesn't pierce through the skin. However, there may still be damage to internal soft tissue. Surgical treatment may still be necessary.

The most unstable type is a comminuted fracture. It's a result of bone(s) shattering into three or more pieces. Piecing the bones back together in surgery could be more complicated.

Whatever the type of fracture, the patient will have to stay off his/her foot for some time. This could be a few weeks or even longer, depending on the severity and treatment plan. And in some cases, there could be permanent loss of function.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

With or without surgery, most people with a calcaneus fracture undergo rehab. Of course, it can take longer for those with more serious injuries to complete rehabilitation and fully recover. Special exercises focus on strengthening muscles and improving range of motion.

Recovery also depends on any complications that may occur, such as the wound taking longer to heal or there's tendon irritation because of the screws used in surgery. Some patients experience ongoing problems with joint stiffness and chronic pain even after the fracture has healed. A more permanent type of injury may be an altered gait.

Workers' Compensation Benefits

Workers who sustain calcaneus fractures during their employment in Iowa are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These benefits may include coverage for medical expenses related to the injury and partial wage replacement if the individual is unable to work temporarily. Additionally, permanent disability benefits may be available for injuries resulting in lasting impairment.

Determining Benefit Amounts

The compensation for a calcaneus fracture depends on various factors, including whether the injury affects both heels, leads to secondary issues like back or hip problems, or exacerbates pre-existing conditions. Benefits may be calculated based on the percentage of disability a medical professional assigns and factors such as age, education, and ability to return to work.

Seeking Legal Assistance

As you can see, many different things can affect the value of your case. The one thing for sure is that you do not want to just accept what the insurance company is offering you or sign any settlement documents without first learning your rights and consulting with a qualified Iowa workers comp lawyer. For more information about how much compensation you should receive for your work injury contact our office at (641) 792-3595 for your NO COST Iowa work injury disability evaluation and review or Chat Here Now.


To receive a Free book entitled "Iowa Workers' Compensation- An Insider's Guide to Work Injuries" which describes Iowa work injuries including the "7 Mistakes To Avoid If You Are Hurt At Work" Call Now 641-792-3595 or click the book to the left. Why offer a Book at No Cost? Iowa Workers' Compensation Attorney Corey J. L. Walker practices primarily in workers' compensation law and has represented hundreds of Iowans hurt at work and has seen too many clients from Des Moines, Newton, Cedar Rapids and throughout the state of Iowa make mistakes before they had the “right” information about work injuries resulting in them losing thousands of dollars. Iowans hurt at work are beginning to realize that the insurance company is not there to help them and that they should have someone on their side. 

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Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.