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Foot & Ankle

The epidemiology and trends in the surgical management of calcaneal fractures in England between 2000 and 2017

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This paper documents the epidemiology of adults (aged more than 18 years) with a calcaneal fracture who have been admitted to hospital in England since 2000. Secondary aims were to document whether publication of the United Kingdom Heel Fracture Trial (UK HeFT) influenced the proportion of patients admitted to hospital with a calcaneal fracture who underwent surgical treatment, and to determine whether there has been any recent change in the surgical technique used for these injuries.

Patients and Methods

In England, the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data are recorded annually. Between 2000/01 and 2016/17, the number of adults admitted to an English NHS hospital with a calcaneal fracture and whether they underwent surgical treatment was determined.


During this 17-year period, 62 858 patients were admitted to hospital with a calcaneal fracture. The male-to-female ratio was 2.66:1. The mean annual incidence was 10.5/100 000 for men and 3.8/100 000 for women. The results of the UK HeFT were published in July 2014. The percentage of patients admitted with a calcaneal fracture undergoing internal fixation was 7.31% (3792/51 859) before and 7.38% (534/7229) after its publication. This difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.94). Since 2015, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of calcaneal fractures treated by closed reduction and internal fixation, as opposed to open reduction and internal fixation, from 7.7% (292/3792) to 13.29% (71/534) (p < 0.001).


This study documents the epidemiology and trends in surgical treatment of calcaneal fractures in England. We established that surgeons did not change their practice in terms of offering surgery to these patients in response to the results of the UK HeFT. There has been a significant (p < 0.001) increase in the number of calcaneal fractures being treated surgically using less invasive procedures.

Correspondence should be sent to J. A. Humphrey; email:

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