Scientific Articles   |    
Risk Factors for Infection and Amputation Following Open, Combat-Related Calcaneal Fractures
CPT (P) Jonathan F. Dickens, MD1; CPT Kelly G. Kilcoyne, MD1; CPT Matthew W. Kluk, MD1; Lt. Col. Wade T. Gordon, MD1; LTC Scott B. Shawen, MD1; MAJ Benjamin K. Potter, MD1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, America Building (Building 19), 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20889. E-mail address for B.K. Potter: kyle.potter@us.army.mil
View Disclosures and Other Information
  • Disclosure statement for author(s): PDF

Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of the Army, Department of Defense, nor the U.S. Government. We certify that all individuals who qualify as authors have been listed; each has participated in the conception and design of this work, the analysis of data, the writing of the document, and the approval of the submission of this version; that the document represents valid work; that if we used information derived from another source, we obtained all necessary approvals to use it and made appropriate acknowledgements in the document; and that each takes public responsibility for it. Nothing in the presentation implies any Federal/Department of Defense/Department of the Navy/Department of the Army endorsement.

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 Mar 06;95(5):e24 1-8. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.00003
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case



High-energy open calcaneal fractures are severe injuries complicated by high rates of infection, uncertain functional outcomes, and frequent need for later amputation.


We conducted a retrospective review of 102 consecutive combat-related open calcaneal fractures. Patient demographics, injury mechanisms, fracture and wound characteristics, associated fractures, and methods of fracture fixation were reviewed to determine risk factors for eventual amputation or infection.


Eighty-nine patients, with a mean age of twenty-six years, sustained 102 open calcaneal fractures (thirteen bilateral). After a mean follow-up of four years (range, five to ninety-two months), 42% (forty-three limbs) underwent amputation. A delayed amputation (more than twelve weeks from the time of injury) was performed in 15% (fifteen) of 102 open calcaneal fractures. In a multivariate Cox proportional-hazards survival model with time to amputation as the end point, the blast mechanism of injury, plantar wound location, larger size of open wound (in square centimeters), and escalating Gustilo and Anderson classification types (p < 0.05 for all) were predictive of eventual amputation. At the time of the final follow-up, patients who had undergone amputation had lower visual analogue scale scores for pain (2.1 compared with 4.0; p < 0.0001) and higher Tegner activity levels (5.4 compared with 3.5; p < 0.0001) than limb salvage patients.


Lower-extremity amputation following open calcaneal fractures is predicted by the injury mechanism, wound location and size, and open fracture type and severity. After short-term follow-up, patients with open calcaneal fractures eventually requiring amputation exhibit improved pain and activity levels compared with patients with continued, ostensibly successful limb salvage.

Level of Evidence: 

Prognostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org


    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe

    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    PubMed Articles
    Diabetic foot disorders: a clinical practice guideline. -American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons | 1/19/2007
    Results provided by:
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    Oregon - The Center - Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Care and Research
    Illinois - Hinsdale Orthopaedics
    Connecticut - Yale University School of Medicine