What conditions may require heel surgery

Surgery For Heel Pain

There are certain foot conditions that can cause severe pain. When patients come to our podiatric office seeking help for their foot pain, there are some situations that require surgical intervention right away in order to provide relief. Other times, we may see a condition that has progressed over time and no longer responds to conservative treatment methods. In a case like this, we may encourage surgery to alleviate pain and restore mobility. There are several chronic problems that commonly affect the heel or ankle. Two conditions that can lead to possible surgical intervention are heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.

Heel Spur Surgery

A heel spur is an abnormal growth on the heel bone. In essence, it is a calcium deposit that forms when the plantar fascia pulls away from where it is attached to the heel. A spur can is not the cause of significant pain while walking or standing. The plantar fascia is the cause. There are several reasons the plantar fascia can be stretched to this extent including flat feet, high arches and type of footwear worn. Women are particularly at risk due to the footwear often worn. When the plantar fascia is injured, the resulting condition is plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are commonly associated with this condition.

A heel spur usually develops when you have had plantar fasciitis for an extended period of time, and an X-ray is typically used to confirm its presence. We start with conservative treatments including anti-inflammatory medication, icing, stretching exercises, laser treatments, night splints and custom orthotics. When these fail to improve symptoms, only then do we introduce an option for surgery.

When surgery is decided upon, the focus is typically on relieving stress and pain caused by the plantar fascia. In an endoscopic plantar fasciotomy, two tiny cuts are made around the heel in order to detach or cut the plantar fascia ligament from the heel bone. We may also decide to remove the bony spur as well.  Sometimes open surgery is needed.

Plantar Fasciitis Surgery

Stress on the bottom of the foot from overuse, acute injury or poor footwear can result in inflammation of the plantar fascia tissue.  Tiny tears can develop in this band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and cause significant pain in the morning, during exercise and when you get up after sitting for an amount of time. The condition is usually quite severe before surgery is necessary. As with a heel spur problem, we will attempt all conservative treatment options before deciding on surgical intervention.

When surgery is necessary to relieve symptoms and bring full mobility back to the affected foot, it commonly involves a procedure called endoscopic plantar fascia release. Small incisions allow for part of the plantar fascia to be cut or released. The goal is to relieve inflammation and release the tension on the tissue.

In many cases we can successfully treat heel pain with non-surgical methods. However, severe and consistent pain needs to be corrected with a surgical procedure. If you are struggling with heel pain, contact Palm Desert podiatrist Dr. Harvey Danciger at (760) 568-0108 to schedule an appointment or request one online.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle