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Is It Time For Surgery For Your Heel?

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Heel pain is one of the most common complaints by patients visiting a Podiatrist or Orthopedist. Often times, the patient has had the heel pain for several months, always thinking that the pain will improve with time. Unfortunately, the pain usually worsens progressively to the point where the patient can not handle it any further, and finally goes to either their primary doctor or a podiatrist.

Conservative treatments include icing of the heel, stretching, anti-inflammatories and inserts into shoes. If the pain fails to improve, further options include injection and physical therapy. Unfortunately, approximately 20% of patients fail to improve or have resolution of their symptoms. If you have had heel pain for more than 3 months with appropriate treatment, then you may be in the group for whom surgery becomes the next step.

This kind of surgery typically involves a small incision on the bottom of the foot which not only allows for removal of the heel spur causing the pain, but results in a relatively quick recovery and significant reduction in pain. A study published in The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery found that patients who had surgery with the special technique just described had a 96% resolution rate! That is substantially higher than all other procedures including extracorporeal shock-wave therapy and plantar fasciotomy.

A recent study has shown that only 70% related a “sharp decline” in pain using extracorporeal shock-wave therapy. Heel pain responds to non-surgical treatment, but when it does not, there are options. The Podiatrist you will see at will be highly skilled at performing successful and minimally invasive procedures. This allows for quick recovery and return to normal activity.