When deposits of calcium develop on the heel bone, they can create a protrusion known as a heel spur. Heel spurs can cause mild to severe pain. At Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin, our team of doctors specialize in treating painful conditions associated with the foot and ankle. With advances in modern techniques, we can treat heel pain and discomfort at our Cedar Park, TX, practice using less invasive surgery techniques. If you are experiencing pain in your heel, we can take detailed scans to determine the best treatment method for your needs.
Both heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are common among athletes and others who lead an active lifestyle that includes a lot of running.
What Causes Heel Pain?
Heel spurs are most often the cause of heel pain. These growths can lead to plantar fasciitis, or an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the connective tissues between your heel and the ball of your foot. Both heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are common among athletes and others who lead an active lifestyle that includes a lot of running. Running on hard surfaces such as concrete is especially hard on the feet. In addition to running and jogging, a heel spur and other issues of the foot or ankle may also result from jumping, ill-fitting shoes, being overweight or obese, and gait abnormalities.
There are a variety of more conservative treatments our doctors typically recommend before turning to surgery. Depending on what your x-rays and examination reveal and your level of pain, we may prescribe a variety of treatments, including:
- Exercises such as walking and stretching are often one of the best things you can do for a heel spur.
- Changing your shoes can make a big difference, especially if you are very active.
- In addition to trying different shoes, you may need shoe inserts as well.
- Depending on your daily activity levels, we may recommend using athletic tape for your heel and ankle to help ease the stress your tendons must endure.
We also typically recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen to help alleviate your pain. For patients in more severe pain, we may provide a cortisone shot in the heel. If these non-invasive methods prove ineffective, we may recommend surgery to remove the heel spur.
Surgery Procedure and Recovery
Heel spur surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. Depending on the extent of the procedure, we may use sedation ranging from a local anesthetic to general anesthesia. Once sedation is administered, one of our highly trained doctors can create two incisions on either side of your heel. A small camera is inserted through one of these incisions, as well as a surgical instrument. Your doctor can use these tools to detach all or a portion of the plantar fascia from your heel bone. They may also remove the heel spur itself.
The procedure is relatively quick and once complete, we can place your foot in a cast or boot. We recommend that you limit walking and other activities for about one week. Most patients are able to return to full activity after three to four weeks, but you should wait until you are cleared by your doctor. After three to seven days, we will remove any bandages and sutures, and you can generally stop wearing the boot and wear supportive shoes instead. Following your doctor’s post-operative instructions carefully can help ensure a speedy recovery.
Our highly experienced team can determine the cause of your discomfort to provide effective, minimally invasive treatment.
What are the Benefits Treatment?
Non-invasive treatments can provide relief and prevent future pain and discomfort from occurring. While heel spur surgery is typically reserved as a last-resort treatment, it is generally effective. By detaching the plantar fascia ligaments and removing the calcium deposits, we can eliminate the pain and discomfort you felt previously. Within just a few weeks, you can return to your normal activities, pain-free.
If you are suffering from chronic heel pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our highly experienced team can determine the cause of your discomfort to provide effective, minimally invasive treatment.