University Foot & Ankle Institute
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Heel Conditions: Heel Spurs

What are Heel Spurs?

Heel Spur - University Foot and Ankle Institute

 

Heel spurs are a condition that usually makes its presence known first thing in the morning via heel pain. Discomfort is typically felt in the front and bottom of the heel (calcaneal). Pain can be constant for several months or intermittent for lengthy periods of time.

 

Generally caused by lack of flexibility in the calf muscles and/or excess weight, heel spurs occur when the foot bone is exposed to constant stress and calcium deposit build-up on the bottom of the heel bone. Repeated damage can cause these deposits to pile up on each other, presenting a spur-shaped deformity.  

 

What are the symptoms of a Heel Spur?

 

Most of the time heel spurs present as pain in the region surrounding the spur, which typically increases in intensity after prolonged periods of rest. Patients may not be able to bear weight on the afflicted heel comfortably. Running, walking, or lifting heavy weight may exacerbate the issue.

Thank you so much for your skill and kindness before and during my surgery. I am sure that you have many patients that appreciate your work. I am thankful of your professionalism and how attentive you are. Rashi

How is a Heel Spurs diagnosed?

 

Diagnosis is made using a few different technologies. X-rays are often used first to ensure there is no fracture or tumor in the region. Then ultrasound is used to check the fascia itself to make sure there is no tear and check the level of scar tissue and damage. Neurosensory testing, a non-painful nerve test, can be used to make sure there is not a local nerve problem if the pain is thought to be nerve related.

 

It is important to remember that one can have a very large heel spur and no plantar fasciitis issues or pain at all, or one can have a great deal of pain and virtually no spur at all.

 

Heel Spur - University Foot and Ankle Institute

Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis, what's the difference?

 

Although a heel spur is often thought to be the source of heel pain, it rarely is. When a patient has plantar fasciitis, the plantar fascia pulls on the bottom of the heel bone. Over time this can cause a spur to form.  Heels spurs are a very common x-ray finding, and because the heel spur is buried deep in soft tissue and not truly in a weight bearing area, there is often no history of pain.

 

It is important to note that less than one percent of all heel pain is due to a spur. but frequently caused by the plantar fascia pulling on the heel.  Once the plantar fasciitis is properly treated, the heel spur could be a distant memory.  Learn more about Plantar Fasciitis here.

 

What are the non-invasive treatment options for Heel Spurs?

 

Initially, treatment usually consists of a combination of ice therapy, stretching exercises to improve flexibility (especially in the mornings), anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. Most patients will also need custom-molded orthotics to help control the motion in the foot and arch, which takes the strain off the plantar fascia. If the pain continues, a cortisone injection may be used to calm the severe swelling and pain. There may the need for a night splint to maintain a stretch in the plantar fascia throughout the night.

 

At University Foot and Ankle Institute we will try conservative and non-invasive treatments when a condition is in its early or “acute” phase. With a success rate of over 90%, a slow and steady course of treatment usually is just what the doctor ordered.

 

What if non-invasive treatments do not correct my Heel Spur symptoms?

 

Though conservative treatments for heel spurs work most of the time, there are some cases where we need to take your treatment to the next level. Luckily, with today’s technologies, you can still often avoid surgery.

 

Some of the advanced technologies we have to treat a Heel Spur are:

 

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (also known as PRP) is one of several regenerative medicine techniques that University Foot and Ankle Institute has helped bring to foot and ankle care.

 

This amazing in-office procedure allows the growth factors in the blood to be used to actually begin the healing process again long after your body has given up on healing the area. Learn more about Platelet Rich Plasma.

 

Heel Pain Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive procedure done in the office that allows for new blood to get to the region of fascia damage and help with healing. Results have been excellent with more than 70 percent of patients getting relief with only one treatment.

 

Topaz for Heal Spurs and pain

Another minimally invasive technology technique is called Coblation Surgery using a Topaz probe. This minimally invasive procedure involves controlled heating of multiple tiny needles that are inserted through the skin and into the plantar fascia. This process, like PRP and Shockwave therapy, irritates the fascia enough to turn a chronic problem back into an acute problem, greatly increasing the chances of healing.

 

Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy

One surgical procedure that we consider is to release the tight fascia. The Foot and Ankle Institute has perfected an endoscopic (camera guided) approach for fascia release to allow rapid healing and limited downtime with minimal pain.  

 

Why choose the Foot and Ankle Institute for the treatment of your Heal Spur pain?

 

The Foot and Ankle Institute is a world leader in the research and treatment of heel spurs with complete diagnostic services, non-surgical remedies and state-of-the art surgical options.

 

The Foot and Ankle Institute is a world leader in the diagnosis and treatment of bone spurs and plantar fasciitis with the most technically advanced equipment in the country. Many of the diagnosis and treatments for plantar fasciitis have been studied and perfected at our Institutes.