The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NHL News: Dallas Stars’ Tyler Seguin Sustains Hairline Heel Fracture

Posted by on Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

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Tyler Seguin is a tough player—so it’s not surprising that he kept the nature of his foot injury hidden until the pain became truly unbearable. After an MRI, it was revealed that Seguin had a hairline fracture in his heel. It’s a disappointing blow for a player who had an All-Star season last year with thirty three goals and forty assists before a skate sliced his left Achilles and took him out of the playoffs.

If you’ve recently sustained an injury to your heel and are looking for the best orthopedic foot surgeon in NYC, look no further than The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. We offer cutting edge technologies for a speedy recovery, along with the industry’s best techniques for surgical repairs if necessary. Continue reading to learn more about the type of heel injury NHL player Tyler Seguin sustained.

Heel fractures are also sometimes known as calcaneal fractures.
A heel fracture is sometimes called a calcaneal fracture. Image Source: Wikimedia user Hellerhoff.

What Happened to Tyler Seguin?

A fractured heel is not a typical hockey injury, but it may occur due to a freakish skid into the boards, as was the case with Seguin. We more routinely see this type of injury in a traumatic car accident or in heavily training runners with a heavy heel strike. The 24-year-old center reportedly tumbled feet-first into the end-boards in a September 9th exhibition game against the United States in preparation for the World Cup of Hockey. He left the game briefly but continued to play.

Symptoms of Calcaneal Stress Fracture

  • Often, the symptoms of a calcaneal stress fracture are subtle. The heel pain begins gradually and worsens with swelling and activity.
  • Unlike plantar fasciitis pain, which stretches along the bottom of the foot from the heel through the arch, a stress fracture is a deep ache spread out across the entire heel.
  • If you squeeze the sides of the heel together, you certainly feel the pain.
  • The foot is tender but rarely bruises.

Heel Fracture Recovery Time

Usually it takes several weeks for the pain to really prompt a backing off of activities. Often, hairline fractures are missed in routine x-rays until 2-3 weeks later once the bone starts to heal. MRIs and bone scans are better diagnostic tools. Seguin’s original projected return after his MRI was the October 13th meeting with Anaheim, which means he’d miss at least seven games. Doctors said they would “re-evaluate” his condition “in a week,” likely waiting to gauge the progress of healing before recommending a realistic timetable for recovery.

On a positive note, a straight break is more likely to heal without complications as opposed to fractures involving displacement. In very rare cases, patients may be susceptible to recurrent fractures (particularly if the bone is weakened by osteoporosis or arthritis).

We have seen some hairline fractures of the foot heal in as little as a month. More commonly, we see patients take two or three months. Of course, a “healed fracture” by diagnostic standards is different than resuming full strength and mobility. Stretching and strengthening the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments is crucial to a healthy recovery in which you “feel like yourself” again, not to mention avoiding future injuries.

Rest from the offending activity is the most important aspect of treatment. We typically put patients into a boot walker. Usually patients can maintain some level of fitness with low-impact activities like swimming or recumbent biking. If you’re a runner who sustained a repetitive injury stress fracture, we can take you through gait analysis to let you know if modification to your running style would make you less likely to injure yourself. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements can also facilitate faster healing.

Getting Back to Normal After a Fracture

As for Seguin, he is much missed. “Obviously he’s a big part of our team,” said Stars winger Ales Hemsky. “He was injured last year [for] a couple months and the playoffs…We still have a lot of good players, and they can jump in and not replace him—nobody can replace Seggy—but we did it last year. He will get healthy, and the season is long, so hopefully he comes back as soon as possible.”

If you are looking to get back to normal and heal your heel as quickly as possible, come see us in our Manhattan office near Central Park. We have ultrasound and electronic bone stimulation therapies to limit pain and help you recover as fast as possible. Need physical therapy? We offer that, too! Contact us for details.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.