Ask the Foot Surgeon: Do I Need Surgery for Bone Spurs?

If you think you have bone spurs and are dreading foot surgery, you're in luck!  Many times there are non-surgical options for foot pain, and not all foot pain is due to bone/heel spurs.  If you're experiencing foot pain and suspect you have bone spurs, as a foot surgeon and podiatrist I urge you to come into my office for an examination so we can get to the root of the problem.

What is a Bone Spur? 

Let's assume you've gotten an official diagnosis of bone spurs, and explain what they are in detail. Bone spurs, more often known as heel spurs, are growths of bone along the edges of your bones. In heel spurs, they happen in the heel bone (calcaneus). They are attributed to chronic local inflammation at the insertion of soft-tissue tendons or fascia in the area. Heel spurs can be located at the back of the heel or under the heel, beneath the sole of the foot. Heel spurs at the back of the heel are frequently associated with inflammation of the Achilles tendon (tendinitis) and cause tenderness and pain at the back of the heel made worse while pushing off the ball of the foot.

Symptoms of Heel Spurs

Heel spurs can be painless, but are often associated with heel pain and plantar fasciitis. There's often localized tenderness at the bottom of the heel, making it difficult or painful to walk barefoot on hard floors. 

How are Heel Spurs Treated

Once a diagnosis of heel spurs has been made, there are many options for treatment.  At our podiatrist office we aim to treat the symptoms of heel spurs and their resulting inflammation conservatively at first, often with inflammation reducing medication, injections, or even our MLS laser therapy. Additionally, we'll likely recommend that you invest in orthotics and comfortable, supportive shoes, as those will help reduce the irritation from heel spurs. 

In those cases where heel spurs cause chronic inflammation, surgery may be an option. 

Heel Spur Foot Surgery

Surgery is performed on an outpatient basis.  You will be put in a post-operative boot after the surgery, and though you can likely walk after surgery we recommend our patients to limit the amount of wight bearing activities they undertake.  The first week you should expect to stay off your feet except for going back and forth to the bathroom or to get food. By the second week you can likely be more mobile, and by the third week some patients are able to walk normally. As with anything, your case might be different- your foot surgeon will discuss everything with you before foot surgery is performed, and will update you on your progress as you continue to check in at your followup appointments. 

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