Go to navigation Go to content Healthmark Foot & Ankle Associates

Avoiding Surgery for Chronic Heel Spur Syndrome

For some people, having a heel spur is just a minor annoyance that can be easily treated. These simple heel spurs often resolve on their own in six months to a year. Using non-invasive therapies, you and your Philadelphia podiatrist can augment this natural healing process.

For other people, however, heel spurs are much more chronic. The accompanying pain keeps them from completing their daily activities. At this point, more serious treatments may be necessary to continue daily life.

When a heel spur does not respond to the usual remedies, a more aggressive approach is required. The most severe cases are called “chronic unresponsive heel spur syndrome.” Only about 10% of heel spur patients fall into this category. Characteristics include:

  • No response to conservative treatment
  • Chronic pain for at least six months
  • Significant alteration in your gait (walking)


If you suffer from chronic unresponsive heel spur syndrome, your podiatrist may suggest any of the following options:

  • Extra-corporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). An FDA-approved, non-invasive procedure, EWST is a relatively new treatment that works for many patients. This therapy uses energy pulses to cause microtrauma to the tissue around the spur. As the tissue repairs itself, it is thought that the heel spur can resolve. 
  • Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy surgery. Sometimes relief can be found through making small incisions in the foot and either elongating or detaching the plantar fascia.
  • Spur removal surgery. Your podiatrist can also remove the calcium deposit that is causing your pain while working on the plantar fascia. A small camera and instruments are used to completely remove the bony growth.


Of course, it is best to avoid surgery and its inherent risks altogether. The best way to do this is to seek treatment before your symptoms become chronic. The caring podiatry team at Healthmark Foot and Ankle Associates are here to help.

If you live in the Philadelphia tri-state area and suffer from heel pain, call Healthmark today. Our three board-certified Pennsylvania podiatrists are available full-time to assess your condition and recommend the best treatment.