Ignoring chronic foot pain is just about impossible. Problems like bunions, hammertoes, and heel spurs can become so painful that they prevent someone from carrying out everyday tasks. And heel spurs in particular can throw off a person’s gait so badly that they may develop knee, hip, or back issues as well. On a positive note, individuals with heel spurs do have options at their disposal –– including surgical intervention. Can you remove a heel spur? The short answer is yes, through surgery. We’ll explain heel spur treatment in full here:
What is a Heel Spur?
A heel spur is a bony calcium deposit that forms at the bottom of the foot. Heel spurs can occur for a wide variety of reasons. Athletes are often susceptible to heel spurs because they spend a lot of time on their feet, and the acts of running, jumping, and pivoting can put extra pressure on the heel. In addition, though, factors such as arthritis, obesity, and even improper footwear can lead to the development of heel spurs.
Heel spurs may also occur in conjunction with a condition known as plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the front of the foot. Plantar fasciitis happens when this tissue becomes inflamed and causes pain along the bottom of the foot. Heel spurs may form as a result of plantar fasciitis.
Non-Surgical Heel Spur Treatments
Unlike other foot conditions, it is possible in some instances to effectively treat heel spurs through non-surgical methods. Generally speaking, the earlier a heel spur is diagnosed, the better the chance it can be alleviated without surgery. Non-surgical methods for dealing with heel spurs include:
- Cushioned soles and inserts.
- Physical therapy.
- Anti-inflammatory medicine (cortisone shots).
Most of the time, a doctor will recommend that a patient try these measures before they opt for surgery. However, some heel spurs are so painful, large, or debilitating that surgical intervention is required.
Heel Spur Surgery
Though heel spurs do not always call for surgery, heel spur surgery itself has become much more patient-friendly in recent years thanks to minimally invasive techniques. There are several different ways a surgeon can act to alleviate heel spur pain. If, for instance, a heel spur occurs along with plantar fasciitis, the surgeon may perform a plantar fascia release. In this procedure, the surgeon cuts a part of the plantar fascia in order to relieve tension and inflammation in the foot. Alternatively, surgeons may need to remove very large heel spurs that have become debilitating in their own right. (This is not always the case.)
Minimally invasive foot surgery is an outpatient procedure that typically allows the patient to walk out of the operating room and resume normal daily activities immediately following the procedure. As opposed to open-foot surgery, minimally invasive surgery limits residual pain, scarring, and allows for much shorter recovery periods. Just how long and extensive heel spur surgery recovery may be depends on a number of factors including the size and severity of the heel spur, the presence of other conditions like plantar fasciitis and arthritis, the nature of the surgery, and the person’s overall health and wellness.
Heel spurs can affect everyone from professional athletes to retirees. If you’re concerned about foot pain, then contact the professionals at Northwest Surgery Center today. Our team can answer any questions you have and help you find a treatment option that works best for your situation.