Excessive and faulty pressure exerted by the tendons, which joins muscles to the bones and the ligaments which holds the bones in coordinating positions, may create a bone spur. It is a protruding outgrowth of the normal bone that is trying to adjust to the forces acting on it. A bone spur is also referred to as osteophyte.
Heel spur is a type of bone spur that occur in the foot, especially in the plantar fascia which is a fibrous band of connective tissues, lining the underside of the heel bones. A heel spur leading out of the plantar fascia invades the surrounding body tissues and becomes a cause of inflammation and pain.
Types of Surgery
In the beginning, a patient suffering a heel spur may be benefited from treatments like taping and/or accessories such as, orthotics. Medicines, such as, cortisone injections and painkillers or physical therapy, may also help him by providing pain relief. When these options fail, the patient may have to opt for a surgery.
A patient opting for the open or invasive heel spur surgery, should expect a lengthy recovery time. The heel spur is located with the help of X-ray. The heel is then cut opened, a small camera is inserted and the plantar fascia ligament from the heel bone is detached or released, fully or partially, using a micro scalpel.
The doctor may decide to cut and remove the spur too, depending on how it is situated. The recovery time for this surgery is between 1-3 weeks. The nature of your job and how much pressure you exert on your feet while performing it, and whether your job involves carrying heavy objects dictates the recovery period and chances of recurrence of heel pain.
Deskbound individuals can get back to their work within 3-5 days though, they need to keep their foot propped up. Individuals who spend most of their time at work on their feet may require 6-8 weeks minimum.
Individuals who needs to lift or carry heavy objects as part of their work may require as many as 3-6 months. However, it may take a complete year to regain full functionality of the treated heel.
This rest period may cause the individual financial difficulties, since the doctors generally, advise to rest the heel completely. This type of surgery can lead to complications such as septic, in absence of the proper care of the heel. The podiatrists may advise him to use crutches or to wear a special shoe to protect the treated heel.
Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy
During an endoscopic plantar fasciotomy procedure, two incisions are made around the heel and a miniature camera is inserted inside the heel. Depending on the observations, the doctor may decide to cut or detach, full or partially, the ligament joining the plantar fascia to the heel bone. This relieves the pressure on the plantar fascia.
During the surgery, the doctor may also decide to cut and remove the heel spur. This takes care of the problem faced by the patient and it also minimizes the chances of it reoccurring in the future.
However, the patient should keep an eye on his weight, use proper shoes and take care of not putting excessive stress on the treated foot for the time advised by the doctor. The recovery time for this type of surgery is less than 3 week.
In few cases, the patient may continue to feel the pain in the affected area which normally, clears off within a week after surgery.
Researchers have come up with a new approach of using pulses of high-pressure sound waves, for stimulating the healing process of the body. These pulses can pass through the skin and when they are focused on the affected area, can stimulate the growth of the new blood vessels in the affected area.
This, in turn, leads to supply of more oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in the affected area. This type of heel spur treatment also helps in generation of new body cell, faster healing and reduction in pain.
The laser surgery is another non-invasive procedure, which has the potential of replacing invasive surgery. This procedure also stimulates the growth of new tissues in the affected area, by using low intensity laser beams.
Since, procedures mentioned above are non-invasive, the recovery time is very less. In fact, these procedures can be performed with much ease and there is no need for the patient to get hospitalized.
The success of the surgery depends on, the type of the surgery you choose to undergo, how strictly you follow the doctors instructions, regarding resting your treated heel, during the post-surgery period. Doing exercises involving toe curls and heel cord stretches are very useful during the recovery process.
You must also follow recommended diet, if any, as a sudden increase in weight also increases the chances of recurrence of the heel spurs.