Heel Spur Surgery

Important Facts About Heel Spur Surgery

Heel spur surgery is an option that is typically only considered after other forms of treatment have been tried with unsuccessful results.  Usually, less aggressive options work quite well for most people but for really stubborn spurs, surgery may be the only option.  Heel spurs can really interfere with your daily activities and cause you an unbearable amount of pain so it is important to see your doctor when you first start experiencing symptoms before they have time to progress.

Heel Spurs Explained

Many people have a vision of a bony, sharp projection that is located on the bottom of the heel that sticks outward and hurts to walk on when the term heel spur is mentioned however, this is not the case.  Heel spurs are caused when the soft tissue found on the bottom of your foot is damaged.

Their technical name is plantar fasciitis, otherwise called heel spur syndrome and the term refers to the bottom of your foot.  “Fascia” is an inelastic, tough band while “itis” refers to the inflammation associated with the condition.  It is usually caused by an injury to the location where your heel bone and foot are attached.  This can be due to chronic repetitive movements or an acute event that caused scar tissue and inflammation to develop.

A person of any age could find themselves in need of heel spur surgery.  It often is derived from weight gain but they can also be caused by high arches.

Invasive Heel Spur Surgery

This is the most traditional, yet less used, type of scalpel-based treatment.  The doctor gains access to the area by making a cut on the base of your foot.  In 1991, a newer option endoscopic plantar fasciotomy was first performed.  This procedure involves making two very small incisions on the side of your foot.  A plastic tube is inserted to hold the incision open so that a scalpel and a tiny camera can be inserted, allowing the surgeon to see and cut the heel spur away.  Patients can typically return to work in one week and back to regular activity in three weeks.

Non-invasive Heel Spur Surgery

The most common non-invasive option is electro shockwave lithotripsy.  This involves a wave of energy being directed to the area which disrupts the tissue without actually making an actual surgical incision.  For some patients, only one treatment is necessary while others may require a few sessions.  The actual treatment itself only takes approximately 12 minutes and you are only in the office for about 3 hours total.  One of the greatest things about this type of procedure is that you are able to return back to work the following day and pain is very minimal after.  For many reasons, the non-invasive heel spur surgery method is preferred over the invasive type of treatment.


Risks With An Invasive Surgery

Aside from the substantially less pain suffered as well as the minimal  treatment and recovery time, non-invasive heel  spur surgery also has less potential risks.  Invasive types of surgeries can lead to infection, bleeding, extended healing time, post treatment pain, change in the foot's structure and nerve damage.

The most common major complication associated with this procedure is the potential risk of your arch falling more.  For this reason, it is very important to wear an arch support for a designated amount of time.  Invasive surgery should never be performed on individuals with flat feet because this method creates stress on the edge of your foot.

It is also important to note that there is always the risk of a nerve being cut or damaged during an invasive surgery.  Nerve damage can result in pain and numbness in the surrounding area that can be temporary or sometimes even permanent.