What causes heel pain?
Heel pain is caused by chronic overuse condition of the plantar fascia known as plantar fasciitis, often in combination with heel spurs (small sharp bony projection at the underneath surface of the heel bone). This condition is known to be very painful and relapsing t common people who affected by heel spurs are those that stand for their occupation. A variety of symptoms are described for heel spurs, but generally people tend to experience pain described as a throbbing or aching sensation in their heel which is worse after periods of long-standing, and particularly noticeable first thing in the morning, and after going from a seated to standing position.
Treatment of heel spurs and heel pain
Treatment of heel spurs and heel pain in its initial stages is often multi-faceted, requiring a combination or orthotic support, physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications, footwear changes and activity modification. Many individuals improve over a period of several months with non-surgical treatment, but approximately 20% do not benefit from these treatments, or have chronic or relapsing symptoms. Surgical treatment options for this condition aim to alleviate pain from the condition by removal of the sharp spur, and release of the tight, overworked plantar fascia. In order to determine the most appropriate treatment of the condition, generally a variety of scans including x-rays, ultrasound and even MRI may be necessary in conjunction with an evaluation of foot mechanics and consideration about treatment history.
Minimally invasive plantar fasciitis surgery & heel spur removal
We offer a minimally invasive heel spur removal technique which is performed under live x-ray guidance through a tiny 2mm incision made on the sole of the foot. The spur is removed using specialised surgical burrs and the inside (medial) band of the plantar fascia is released simultaneously. In comparison with tradition 'open' orthopaedic approaches to treat heel spurs, recovery from keyhole surgery is straightforward and is rarely associated with any complications. Traditional approaches which are still performed by most surgeons in Australia require a large incision to be made on the heel area, and extensive soft-tissue dissection in order to access the spur. The problem with this is that it creates a thickened scar area which can be as painful as the original condition, and there is also a high incidence of permanent numbness (nerve damage) from open surgery. Our unique procedure is able to effectively treat the condition at its source, without significant downtime, scarring, or compromise to the other soft tissue structures around the heel area.
Recovery after minimally invasive heel spur removal
A typical patient journey after minimally invasive heel spur removal at our practice is documented below for reference. Please note that these milestones are taken as an average and some individuals may take longer to recovery from surgery.
1st post-op day to 1 week - Dressing and post-op sandal in place. Rest and elevate foot. Restrict activities to home only.
1 week to 2 weeks - Stitch removed at 1 week. Return to work OK if office based. Apply compressive bandage.
2 weeks - Transition back into sneakers. Upper body exercise only. Commence range of motion exercises.
4 weeks - Progress review with surgeon. Continue compression. Low impact exercise OK.
8 weeks - Progress review with surgeon. Higher impact exercises OK. Continue compression.
12 weeks - Progress review with surgeon. Activities generally unrestricted. Minimal swelling at this time usually.
This photo sequence depicts the steps which are performed intra-operatively under fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance in order to release the plantar fascia, and remove the painful heel spur.
1. The plantar fascia is relesed percutaneously through the skin at its origin on the calcaneus (heel bone).
2. A minimally invasive burr is used to shave the spur under x-ray guidance.
3. The bone paste is evacuated from the portal with a rasp.
4. The site is flushed and a single stitch is used to close the wound.
Take your next steps and book an appointment by phoning 08 9284 3872
This website is intended for general information purposes only. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.