PDA

View Full Version : Plantar Fasciitis / Heel Spurs


Paunchy Gandalf
06-03-2004, 04:55 AM
Hi,

I have developed a pain in the back of my heel which the doc says is probably a heel spur. I have three questions for those who have experience of this :

1. Does surgery help in the long term?
2. Are there any specific exercises I can do to avoid recurrence of the pain?
3. Do orthotics help?

Thanks for your comments,

PG

sportsfan10
06-03-2004, 06:52 AM
PG-
If I understand your message correctly, the pain is on the back of your heel and not on the bottom of your foot? If so, this sounds more like an achilles problem than plantar fasciitis.

Is the pain worse in the morning and then gets better as you go through the day? This can be the case with either achilles or plantar fasciitis problem but is particularly symptomatic of PF.

According to my doctor, heel spurs are usually caused by the body trying to compensate for the plantar fascia or the achilles trying to pull away from the heel bone. The body tries to compensate by growing more bone in that area. Check out stretches and other info at www. heelspurs. com. The taping method shown on this website is very good -- I use duct tape as it is stronger than traditional athletic tape and the adhesive holds well even when wet.

I have been unable to play for 7 months due to acute PF. I tried to play through the initial pain thinking it was just a strain or bruise of some kind. Be very careful about trying to play through it.

If you haven't already, see a good orthopedic foot specialist. They can rule out things like stress fractures that can cause the same symptoms as PF.

As to inserts, I would recommend that you try over the counter inserts before springing for custom orthotics. For a compromise, check out www. yoursole. com for heat moldable 'semicustom' inserts.

If PF is the diagnosis, there is a new treatment called Ossatron (using shock waves to break up the damaged tissue) that is having good results in place of traditional surgery. This is used in chronic cases that don't respond to 6 months of more traditional treatment. I had this treatment 2 weeks ago. It does seem that I have gotten some pain relief although I can't run/jump for 6 weeks from the surgery date. I will post with results at that time.

Sorry for the long rambling post but I've been fighting this battle for a while myself. Bottom line, whether it is an achilles problem or PF, take care of it early to avoid a very long layoff/rehab/possible surgery. Good luck!

Paunchy Gandalf
06-04-2004, 03:22 AM
Sportsfan10 - thanks for your detailed response. Sorry to hear about your condition...hope the Ossatron works!

After reading your post, I have decided that I need to move beyond my GP and go to a specialist. Thanks for all the excellent information!

PG

Marius_Hancu
05-06-2006, 03:12 AM
My PF (which was caused as some of you know by lack of flexibility in NB800 shoes), is now under control and I do not have pain for something like 3 years.

'd like however to have the heel spurs removed. They're destroying the socks and even some of the softer sneakers, in that spot. Yes, they are quite prominent, about 1/4 of an inch:-[

I read around about surgery and it doesn't seem to be a piece of cake, as the convalescence is up to a year (just like in a typical ankle ligament surgery, which I had one, and needs a tough rehab), because it seems that during the procedure the plantar fascia needs to be removed and reattached--ouch!!

I read about the Ossatron
http://www.drdavidbartos.com/ossatron.htm
but I am not sure if it's available in Canada
and really how good it is

chess9
05-06-2006, 03:56 AM
My PF (which was caused as some of you know by lack of flexibility in NB800 shoes), is now under control and I do not have pain for something like 3 years.

'd like however to have the heel spurs removed. They're destroying the socks and even some of the softer sneakers, in that spot. Yes, they are quite prominent, about 1/4 of an inch:-[

I read around about surgery and it doesn't seem to be a piece of cake, as the convalescence is up to a year (just like in a typical ankle ligament surgery, which I had one, and needs a tough rehab), because it seems that during the procedure the plantar fascia needs to be removed and reattached--ouch!!

I read about the Ossatron
http://www.drdavidbartos.com/ossatron.htm
but I am not sure if it's available in Canada
and really how good it is

Marius:

You are falling apart, old man! :) You do know where the shuffleboard courts are, right? :) j/k But, I know how you must feel. I think I've had every injury known to man. Right now I have a broken finger in my left hand from bending to pick up a ball with my right hand and reaching to catch another ball with my left. The ball hit my left ring finger and cracked the bone. Ouchee!!

-Robert

paulfreda
05-06-2006, 05:57 AM
I had PF. Could not walk in the morning for almsot 5 minutes.
Tried custom orthotics without success.
What solved the problem for me was to buy tennis shoes 2 sizes too large and put several layers of Dr Schols pads in there. Now I play on what seems like a cushion of air and have had no pain for some 3 yrs now.
Hope that helps

PS It did take some getting used to the clumsiness of size 13 shoes, but I did in about 2 months.

Marius_Hancu
05-06-2006, 09:31 AM
I think my PF is OK (no pain; I changed the shoes and wear inside heel supports), but want to get rid of the heel spurs` and I wonder which is the easiest way.

chess9
05-06-2006, 09:42 AM
Everyone I know who has had their heel spurs surgically removed has had them grow back. Maybe someone has a better technique today to avoid this problem, but I haven't heard of it.

I've had mild PF but I now stretch my achilles/soleus/gastroc every day and I have a little spiked ball I roll under my foot. So far, no recurrence.

-Robert

louis netman
05-06-2006, 11:36 AM
VERY debilitating condition which I have, thankfully recovered from. My tennis playing orthopedist says it comes with age and hard courts. I have been symptom free for over a year. You'll have to start playing on grass or follow my "no-surgery" plan, to "nip it in the bud:"

1) Get Dr Scholls insoles with the padded heel and arch support for ALL your shoes, even your street shoes.
2) DO NOT JOG , EVER as a form of exercise.
3) warm up on a stationary bike (or regular bike) for 10 minutes prior to doing calf stetching exercises. Work-out by riding a bike.
4) do calf stretching exercises in the morning and in the evening.
5) take a hot bath (20 min) with epsom salts (or even regular salt) and a brief calf stretch before retiring for the evening, 3 times per week
6) buy a light foot brace and put it on before retiring. It'l keep your foot from getting into a "jacked up" position during slumber.

Begin playing tennis as soon as your condition is pain-free upon running...


Other tips: when buying any shoe (athletic or otherwise), get the BEST available and make certain it fits perfectly.

REMEMBER: There is no price tag you can put on your health, even if it means eating Cheerios out of a hubcap...

Marius_Hancu
05-11-2006, 01:02 AM
Update:

I visited yesterday an orthopedic surgeon. He told me that in case I don't have pain, I shouldn't go for the surgery for removing the heel spurs.

Main reason: the Achilles tendon must be detached during such surgery, and this is a major risk. Not to speak about the rehab involved (quite lengthy, up to a year, I've read).

He suggested I should use some heel supports underneath (which I do in all my tennis shoes) and behind the heel (which I do only in some of my walking shoes).

Anyway, I had X-rays ordered on the heel/calcaneum.

With them, I'll visit another surgeon, for a 2nd opinion, just in case, but this is probably it. I went 4 years ago for an ankle ligament surgery and I know that the recovery is very hard work.

arj.kal
05-11-2006, 02:32 PM
i had heel problems not sure if they were heel spurs but i got those dr. schools heel pad gels and they did wonders

Marius_Hancu
06-07-2006, 03:50 PM
Update

I went to another surgeon, she told me that if I have no pain, I should leave those heel spurs in place, as the surgery might weaken the Achilles tendon and I might then have pain for the next 10 years. Not something which I endeavor.

BTW, she didn't confirm what the other doc said that during surgery the Achilles must be detached. She said it's not a requirement. Go figure.

There's a lythotripsy (shockwave) machine around here in Montreal, one needs about 4 sessions at $100 each and it seems that the risk is lower. But I am going to wait until the winter season:-), especially as I'd have to pay that out of my pocket.

Newberry
06-08-2006, 04:59 AM
I have had heel spurs since I was 28. Never thought of surgery as my doctor told me that they would grow back quickly in someone of my age. I wore the rubber shoe pads for some time, but they didn't seem to help.

Mine aren't too bad, just have to walk on my tiptoes for a few minutes each morning following an active previous day.

Some shoes are absolute killers and its tough to tell in the store which ones are bad/good. Its almost impossible to go by brand. Dress shoes are the worst!

I've had the best luck out of New Balance (sorry Marius!) and Adidas.

One rule of thumb for me has been that if the shoe feels "low to the ground" its probably bad for my heel spurs. Not always, but enough to use as a guideline.

Best wishes with yours.

Nuke
06-08-2006, 09:40 AM
Keep a looped belt by your bedside. When you wake up, before getting out of bed, loop the belt over your feet and pull the insoles up to stretch the calf muscles. Even without the belt, if you just lay on your back and try to point your toes up to stretch the calf & achilles, it will make those first few painful steps in the morning a lot easier.

phil4015
06-09-2006, 01:05 PM
Just something quick so you can research it more yourself. A friend had his heel spurs removed utilizing "acetic acid ionic phoresis". My understanding of his explaination is this: A pad with acetic acid (basically vinegar) is placed on the heel and a tiny current (can't feel it) is passed through the heel. After about a dozen procedures his spur(s) were basically dissolved and sometime shortly thereafter he was painfree. I really don't know much more than this but he swears it worked and has not had other problems. He found the procedure at a local VA hospital library

BTW, a friend of his is an orthopedic surgeon and still does not believe this worked, but he's a cutter.

My understanding of the pain involved is that I'd probably try this if I could find someone to do it (podiatrist). Especially with the problems associated with surgery. For another friend I Googled phoresis and got some hits, but since it's not my heel, I didn't go any further.

Good luck.

RRR
06-19-2006, 08:31 AM
I now wear shoes one shoe size larger, two pairs of socks, a rigid orthotic ( am slightly flat foot) and a very good heel cushion. this combination for me has worked and and pf free for several months now.
I think it is a matter of sufficient arch support as well as good cushioning. And don't forgetto do some calf stretching after games.