Choosing to undergo foot surgery is a major decision that has the potential to affect your health and daily lifestyle for years to come. Whether you’re dealing with a small bunionette or severe hammertoes, it’s important to understand your treatment options and how long it may take to recover from any procedure before undergoing surgery. As such, today we’re going to tackle a question we field all the time: what is the recovery time for heel spur surgery? The short answer is that it depends on the severity of the condition and the type of procedure performed. At Northwest Surgery Center, many of our patients are able to return to full fitness and mobility after just a few weeks following heel spur surgery. We’ll explain how this is possible here: 

Heel Spur Treatment Options

A heel spur is essentially a build-up of excess calcium that forms at the bottom of the foot under the heel. However, not all heel spurs are created equal. Some are so minor that an individual may not even notice them. Others are so painful and debilitating that they can alter the way a person walks and lead to further joint/muscle issues in the hips or back. The upshot is that there are different ways to treat heel spurs depending on their severity. 

In most instances, medical professionals will at first recommend a number of nonsurgical methods that may sometimes be able to alleviate heel spur pain and reduce inflammation. These include actions like: 

Applying Ice

If you experience pain or inflammation after a long day of spending time on your feet, treating the affected area with ice can provide temporary relief. Be sure to check with your doctor before applying ice if you experience a lack of feeling or circulation issues in your feet. 

Switching to more comfortable footwear or adding cushions to your shoes. 

One of the leading causes of many orthopedic issues is wearing improper or ill-fitting footwear. Wearing comfortable shoes that are easy to walk in and provide enough room for your feet and toes to sit comfortably can not only relieve pain associated with issues like heel spurs but can also prevent these issues from arising in the first place. Additionally, wearing shoe inserts or cushioned pads can help to relieve and prevent pain.

Physical therapy –– including specific foot stretches

Exercising your muscles, especially after a long day of strenuous activities such as walking or standing, can help to alleviate pain associated with issues like heel spurs

Weight loss

Losing weight can be difficult, but doing so can relieve stress from your body which can contribute to aches and pains, as well as medical conditions such as heel spurs.

Rest – Particularly for athletes or highly active individuals

Giving yourself time to rest and allow your body to recover especially after strenuous exercise or other physical activity can help to alleviate pain and prevent common issues like heel spurs.

Anti-inflammatory medication

While over-the-counter pain medicine will not treat issues like heel spurs at the source, they can help to relieve pain temporarily. 

For some people, a combination of these treatments may prove effective. However, others may struggle to make progress with nonsurgical techniques depending on the severity of the heel spur and other health factors, especially since many non-surgical treatments aim to temporarily relieve pain but are unable to fully treat it at the source.

Minimally Invasive vs Traditional Foot Surgery

Foot surgery may not be the first option your doctor recommends for dealing with a heel spur, but if pain persists despite other treatments, and/or if the heel spur becomes associated with plantar fasciitis, surgery may be your best option moving forward. 

At this point, it’s key to learn the difference between minimally invasive heel spur surgery and traditional methods. Traditional orthopedic surgery can be quite painful, and often has a lengthy recovery process during which patients must take care of stitches, wear special footwear, and limit physical activity. Minimally invasive surgery can resolve this issue. 

During a minimally invasive heel spur surgery, the surgeon will make only a very small incision to correct the pain point. This is an outpatient procedure, and most of our patients are able to leave the operating room on their own two feet and resume normal activities almost immediately. Total recovery time for minimally invasive heel spur surgery may last anywhere from two-to-four weeks. Though, a postoperative shoe and/or orthotics may be necessary following the procedure.

Contact us here at Northwest Surgery Center to learn all about treatment and recovery time for heel spurs.