UMEM Educational Pearls


48 year-old presents after falling 15 feet following a “misunderstanding” with police. What's the diagnosis? ...and for a bonus question, why is this called a “Lover’s Fracture”? 



Calcaneus fracture

Answer to Bonus Question: Historically called a “Lover’s Fracture” for “lovers” jumping out of bedroom windows (to evade suspicious spouses) who then land directly on their feet.

Calcaneus fractures

  • Most commonly fractured tarsal bone
  • 2 types:
    • Extra-articular fracture (direct blow), twisting, and repetitive forces 
    • Intra-articular fracture from axial loading secondary to fall >6 feet, motor vehicle crash, etc.; (classic “lover’s fracture”)
  • 10% of axial loaded intra-articular fractures associated with:
    • Bilateral calcaneus fractures and/or,
    • Thoracic or lumbar compression fractures and/or,
    • Proximal femur or tibial plateau fractures
  • Ankle Xray is diagnostic and to measure Bohler’s angle (see figure below)
    • Normally 20-40 degrees
    • <20 degrees increases suspicion for intra-articular fracture
  • Ankle CT in select cases as Xray may underestimate some injuries
  • Extra-articular fractures treated with closed reduction and casting and intra-articular fractures treated by open reduction and internal fixation (closed reduction in select cases)


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