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Calcaneal Stress Fracture: An Adverse Event Following Total Hip and Total Knee ArthroplastyA Report of Five Cases
Takaaki Miki, MD, PhD1; Takahito Miki, MD2; Akihiro Nishiyama, MD1
1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Unnan Municipal Hospital, Iida 96-1, Daito Town, Unnan City, Shimane Prefecture 699-12, Japan. E-mail address for T. Miki: t.miki@hotaru.yoitoko.jp. E-mail address for A. Nishiyama: akihiron@hotaru.yoitoko.jp
2 Miki Orthopedic and Pain Clinic, Kandachi 706, Aikawa, Hikawa-Town, Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture 699-0615, Japan. E-mail: t.m.gomimushiman@yahoo.ne
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Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Unnan Municipal Hospital, Unnan City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan

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 © 2014 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2014 Jan 15;96(2):e9 1-6. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.01472
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Stress fractures have been reported to occur in the pubis, femoral neck, proximal part of the tibia, and fabella during the postoperative period following total knee or total hip arthroplasty. However, to our knowledge, calcaneal stress fractures after total hip or total knee arthroplasty have not been reported in the English-language literature. Most orthopaedic surgeons are not familiar with calcaneal stress fractures that may occur in elderly patients after a total knee or total hip arthroplasty.


We retrospectively reviewed the clinical features, imaging findings, and bone mineral content of the proximal part of the femur and the distal end of the radius in five patients who had a calcaneal stress fracture after a total knee or total hip arthroplasty.


All patients were women with a mean age of 76.8 years. All fractures occurred in the calcaneus on the same side as the arthroplasty. The fracture appeared at a mean of 10.2 weeks postoperatively. All patients reported heel pain on walking. Swelling and local heat were found in four and three patients, respectively. Pain was elicited by squeezing the calcaneus in all patients. Early radiographs had normal findings in two patients, and an irregular sclerotic line appeared later in the radiographs of all patients. All fractures were treated conservatively. Four fractures healed uneventfully, but one fracture displaced. All patients had osteoporosis.


Calcaneal stress fractures during the postoperative period following total knee or total hip arthroplasty may not be as rare as previously thought. Because clinical symptoms of the fracture appear insidiously and radiographic findings are absent or subtle in the early stage, a high index of suspicion is needed for orthopaedic surgeons to make the correct diagnosis. Magnetic resonance imaging or repeated radiographs may be necessary to make the correct diagnosis when no abnormality is apparent on the initial radiograph.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Peer Review 

This article was reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief and one Deputy Editor, and it underwent blinded review by two or more outside experts. The Deputy Editor reviewed each revision of the article, and it underwent a final review by the Editor-in-Chief prior to publication. Final corrections and clarifications occurred during one or more exchanges between the author(s) and copyeditors.

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    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.
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