Background: There is no consensus as to which is the best treatment for intraarticular fractures of the calcaneus. Furthermore, few studies have assessed general health after calcaneus fractures. We therefore measured the state of general health after operation of calcaneal fractures and compared these data with usual foot-scores.
Patients and methods: We compared the general health of 71 patients with surgically treated calcaneal fractures 2.5 years after injury, with the general health of 71 people from the standard German population (German National Health Survey, 1998) using the SF-36 form. We compared the results of the examination with results of AOFAS Ankle Hindfoot Scale and Maryland Foot Score in the treated patients.
Results: In patients with calcaneal fractures, there were significant limitations regarding general health in all 9 elements of the SF-36 form. Correlations between SF-36 and foot-scores were strong regarding function and pain scales, but moderate for all other scales.
Interpretation: Patients face significant limitations regarding general health after calcaneal fractures. The usual foot-scores measure only 2 dimensions of outcome: function and pain. To measure all dimensions of outcome, SF-36 is a better alternative.