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When is surgery necessary for heel spurs?

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Quick Answer

Surgery for heel spurs is only necessary when conservative treatments don't restore mobility and relieve discomfort after more than nine months. The most common surgical techniques include removing a bone spur and releasing the plantar fascia. Both procedures involve the risk of nerve pain, infection and recurring pain, notes WebMD.

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Full Answer

Heel spurs generally cause pain through interaction with the plantar fascia, a tissue band that connects the ball of the foot to the heel bone. When the plantar fascia develops inflammation, pain can be significant. While rest may seem like a logical treatment option, rest can actually cause more pain. Standing up after a long meal or getting out of bed in the morning can cause significant pain in the heel, which only eases with movement as stretching eases the impact on the tissue, as stated by WebMD.

Before resorting to surgery, doctors recommend a combination of such strategies as anti-inflammatory medications available over the counter and various types of therapy. Physical therapy and stretching are designed to build flexibility in the plantar fascia. The doctor may recommend specific shoes or orthotic inserts for shoes as well as a regimen of taping to rest tendons and muscles that have been under stress. Only after these strategies have failed for the better part of a year do most physicians even consider surgery, according to WebMD.

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