The Chronic Heel Ulcer and Sub-Total Calcanectomy

ulcersMuch is understood regarding the heel ulcer. It begins mainly on a person who spends an excessive amount of time during the day in a single position, most commonly on a bed. Because of this, the blood flow to a specific area is “squeezed” out continuously from the mattress pushing up and the calcaneus (heel) bone pushing down. Over days, weeks, or months this chronic lack of blood flow to the heel can often cause pain and an ulcer to form.

Ulcers can be complicated by diabetes or in many cases, infection. They are also a contributing factor to the need for leg amputations. One defining factor is that they can be incredibly hard to heal since the foot must rest on something. This condition can happen on any pressure point/bone prominence on the body from the head to the heel.

The “Sub-Total Calcanectomy” is a procedure used, after assessing the blood flow to the leg, to completely remove the ulcer down to bone, then removing the back of the calcaneus until the skin is able to be completely closed and sutured with no tension on it. Once the procedure is completed, healing can now commence. The patient is usually able to bear weight and walk on the treated foot in less than a month after surgery with an orthopedic shoe.

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