Anyone here ever had heel spur surgery?

So for a while now, I’ve had pain in my feet. It’s worse in the mornings or when I’ve been sitting for a while or when I’ve been wearing shoes without much support. I went to a foot doctor who said “plantar fasciatis” and recommended some exercises and stretching.

Six moths later, they’re not better despite all the stretching, so I go to a different doctor who actually does x-rays. His reaction: :eek: “Those are some big bone spurs!” He expresses surprise that someone my (relatively) young age had such big spurs, but I guess I’m a prodigy.

In any case, my options are 1) orthodics (for the rest of my life, I guess) or 2) surgery to remove the spurs and some nerves, and lengthen my plantar fascia.

So now, I’m trolling for the experience of others. Have you ever had this kind of surgery? Did it help? Are you glad you did it or do you regret it?

I have not had bone spurs, but I know someone who did have surgery for them because the alternative was a wheelchair. My main recollection is that recovery time was estimated to be about six months, and was more like eighteen.

Have you been using the 40 degree ramp for stretching and wearing the brace at night? Those two items helped my MIL correct her problems within about 6 months.

I have huge bone spurs in my feet and was in so much pain I could hardly walk - especially in the morning. I went to the doctor and got some specially made shoe inserts (they were around $450 but insurance covered it) made for me. I wore them for about a year and am now pain free and no longer wear them. The doctor told me that surgery is usually a last resort (because of the recovery time and pain) so my recommendation is to try the inserts first.

No, neither doctor I’ve seen recommended either of those treatments.

So you only had to wear them for a year? I was under the impression that I’d have to wear them permanently, I guess. You can swap them between different pairs of shoes, right? My insurance won’t cover them (because I don’t have diabetes :rolleyes:) but they might be worth the investment and probably won’t cost more than the surgery since my copay is so high. Did I mention I have kind of crappy insurance?

I guess I have nothing to lose by trying the inserts first. Well, except $450. But it would be worth it if they work.

I don’t know if you’ll be able to get by with only a year but I did. And the doctor said my spurs were pretty bad. And yes, you can switch them between shoes. You might have to buy a half size larger depending on the shoe.

Well, I’d definitely give it a try. Yes, orthotics can be swapped among different shoes. Are you a boy or a girl? If the latter, the orthotics that fit your sneakers won’t fit the dressier shoes (but then you shouldn’t be wearing those anyhow).

Typo Knig and I can’t do without our orthotics. We’ve both had plantar fasciitis, I’ve had sesamoiditis, and I have tailor’s bunionettes (like a big-toe bunion but on the outer edge of the foot). No heel spurs so far, fortunately. I’m guessing an orthotic for that would have some sort of “doughnut” accommodation for the spur area.

I had the surgery to lengthen my plantar fascia. That finally worked after many shots of cortisone, stretching, and heel cups. It was just one office visit where the Dr. snipped some of the tendon, taped up the small hole on the side of my heel, then sent me on my way with orders to walk around for a few hours to"set the length" of the now modified tendon. I had no re-occurrences since. I had a spur in my other heel, but I was able to sort that one out without getting the knife.

Thanks Anne. The proposed surgery involves cutting off the bone spur, removing some nerves from the bottom of the heel, and snipping the p.f. to lengthen it. But with all this input I’m leaning toward trying the orthotics first to see if they help. I can always get surgery later if I still need it.

I have bone spurs too and I wore orthotic (ugly-ass) shoes for 1.5 years and the pain really cleared up. I still wear special(ugly-ass) shoes that specialize in treating this problem (from a place like

Oh, and I had two cortisone injections which helped also.

Give something else a try before resorting to surgery.

Oh, I forgot to add that the doctor said to never, ever walk barefoot - even around the house. That exacerbates the spurs/pain.

I generally do not recommend surgery to my patients to remove bone spurs in the feet. That’s because they are most often the result of the inflammation and pain in the feet, not the cause of it. Also, in many of the cases where the spurs are at least partly contributory to the pain, the surgery either does not improve the pain, or it makes it worse.

I’ve seen so many bad outcomes that often I’ll over-rule the recommendations of podiatrists or othopods for surgery, at the very least until other methods have been either completely tried, or ruled out as inappropriate. (Of course, I’m in a position to make such decisions)

I’d spend a lot of effort on stretching exercises, orthotic inserts, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, and even steroid injections into the heel first.

Injections often work like a charm. But first they hurt like a bitch.


I’ve had them numerous times*: into both heels, into the area where Morton’s Neuromas typically form, and into the sesamoid area, and my method of dealing with them is to go 100% rigid, grab the armrests on the chair tight enough to dent the metal, and chant my favorite mantra (SHITshitshitshitshitshit… none o’ that namby pamby Om Mane Padme Hummmmmm stuff will do the job!).

Then the area is sore for a day or so.

Then it feels GREAT. Until the problem recurs for whatever reason. Oh well.

The idea is that it relieves the immediate problem, then the orthotics / exercises / quitting whatever activity caused the problem will help it from getting bad again.

*Why yes, I do have lousy feet and I’m thankful for them - I practically dance on clouds in comparison to my mother…

The doctor did give me a cortosone injection on my left foot on my first visit, and it hurt. I can’t really say it helped the heel pain much, either. Maybe for a day, but after that I had the same pain as before.

Thanks everyone. I’ll keep stretching and go for the orthotics. And complain to my benefits manager about the lack of insurance coverage for them.

Have you asked your doctor about a rocker bottom shoe? The new thing in shoes is a design that takes most of the pressure off the heel. Skechers makes a version called the Shape-ups. I have a pair, and my heels feel great when I wear them. My mother in law had pretty bad heel spurs and she thought she needed surgery, but she got a pair of these shoes, and she can walk pretty well without much pain in them.

Not that I’m saying they’re better than surgery, but they’re helping some people with PF and heel spurs walk without pain.


I had bone spur removal surgery when I was 19 and had no problems. But from reading this thread it doesn’t seem like my case was a bad as everyone else’s. My podiatrist had recommend a heel insert, but it didn’t seem to do much. A second podiatrist recommended the surgery, I had it, and was up and around pretty quick. I did PT for awhile but it didn’t really seem necessary. I don’t remember it being bad at all. But again, the bone spur was on the outside of my heel, I was young, and I’d not had big problems leading up to the surgery.

I developed a bone spur on the back of my right heel in 2009. I started experiencing arthritis in my left knee in 2005 and then in my right knee.

The past year it has gotten to the point that my heel hurts worse than my knees. I visited an orthopedic doctor, x-rays showed that I have no cartilage in my left knee and a very small amount in my right knee. Oddly enough my right knee hurts more than my left knee. I was given a steroid shot to my right knee and within a couple of hours my knee felt much better. That lasted for about 4 weeks, then when doing some stretches for my bone spur, my knee started hurting again.

A few weeks later I visited a podiatrist who examined my heel and took x-rays which show a very big bone spur on the back of my heel. He gave me instructions for stretches, wearing orthopedic sleeve over my heel, had my ice my heel daily and gave me a prescription med. A month later nothing helped, my heel was hurting worse than before. I went in to see my podiatrist for a follow-up visit and it was decided that I have the surgery done to remove the spur off my heel.

Upon reading these comments, I’m getting nervous about the surgery. With having arthritis in both knees and then the heel spur, it has been very difficult for me to move around much, hence I gained 20 lbs. over the past year.

I don’t feel that much else will help my heel but the surgery. I can only wear flat shoes with no heel around the back of my shoe, I lived in flip-flops all summer. The surgery will consist of cutting the tendon that connects to my heel, then cutting off the big bone spur and then re-attaching the tendon. I was told I’ll be off my foot for about 3 weeks, but can use crutches or a knee wheel. No way I could use the knee wheel with my knees, even the crutches will be iffy for me. The other option is a small wheel chair. My doctor said including the 3 weeks it will take 6 to 8 weeks to recuperate which will include some physical therapy.

Wish me luck! :slight_smile:

Good luck!!

By “knee wheel”, I assume you mean one of these?

I’ve got bum knees, and I broke my foot a few months back. I rented a knee walker for a month and yeah, it was tough on the knees. It did make a nice alternative to crutches - generally more stable - but in my case, I had a walking orthopedic boot and was allowed to use a cane (except for a few days where the foot was unusually painful). It was tough on the knee I was kneeling on, and a little challenging for the other leg too.

It had the disadvantage of all the same issues with stairs, curbs etc. as a wheelchair does. Also, it was challenging to use on any kind of rough terrain.

And, local DME providers don’t rent them. Well, I found one that could have but there was a 4 week lead time. I rented mine online.

That said, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have one around. You couldn’t do major “hiking” with it but it’s at least an alternative.

Have you tried Physical Therapy? I know lots of physicians forget that step with foot pain, but it can get you doing the right stretches, rule out low back pain ( twice last year I have seen a herniated L 5 disc pretending to be foot pain), it can help get rid of the inflammation ( with ultrasound, teaching you how to ice, how to stretch right) and the Therapist might be able to recommend over the counter orthotics, or semi-custom orthotics that do the job and cost less. unlike surgery, PT is not invasive. I mention it because I see feet with plantar fasciitis and heel spurs a LOT, and I look forward to it, because most of the time we can make a huge difference pretty easy. I also see people post heel spur surgery, and it usually goes very well, as long as it was the spur causing the trouble. Most heel spurs are innocent bystanders in bad neighborhoods.

I had a partial plantar release for chronic plantar fasciitis. Didn’t have a heel spur, which is more a sign of the problem than the problem itself. Was walking (tenderly) in tennis shoes two weeks after surgery and was, more or less, normal after 2.5 months. Were I not dealing with some other, unrelated, foot problems, I would be jogging right now.