Achilles Bone Spur Surgery Recovery Time [6-8 Weeks Best Treatment]
Achilles bone spur surgery recovery time can usually take at least 6-8 weeks until you are walking without a cast or boot. You can start moving in a supportive shoe with a lace up ankle brace.
Back of the heel pain is most commonly caused by Achilles tendon and back of the calcaneus damage.
The most common causes of back heel pain are:
- Fat pad atrophy that can lead to calcaneus bone pain.
- Insertional Achilles tendinitis pain.
- Achilles tendinitis 2-6 cm above the heel bone.
- An Achilles tendon strain or rupture.
- Nerve impingement or entrapment in the heel.
- Achilles tendinosis.
- Back of the heel spur pain.
- Achilles tendon bursitis.
Achilles Bone Spur Causes:
- An Achilles bone spur is caused by a chronic condition called Achilles tendinitis.
- This takes many years for spur to form. But every single day. The Achilles tendon reps of the bone just a little bit.
- This tendon then bleeds, and that blood turns into bone.
- As many years go by. This begins to look like a spark.
- That is how and Achilles tendon bone spur is cost.
Achilles Bone Spur Symptoms:
Symptoms of an Achilles bone spur are:
- Bone formation at the back of the heel.
- Pain in the Achilles tendon. About 2 to 6 cm above the heel bone.
- Difficulty standing for very long time.
- Deep aching pain just above the heel bone.
- Rubbing of the heel bone against the back of the shoe.
- Difficulty standing barefoot.
Achilles Bone Spur Surgery Goals:
- If the achilles bone spur is large and prominent, then the goal is to smooth the bone down and make it softer.
- If there is achilles tendon damage, then that may need to be fixed as well with surgery.
- The primary objective is to have a smooth back of the heel.
What signs that you may need Achilles Bone Spur Surgery?
Some signs that you may need achilles bone spur surgery are the following:
- Difficulty walking
- Achilles tendon pain and possible damage.
- Degeneration of the Achilles tendon.
- Not getting better with good shoes.
- Not getting better with a good brace.
When should you avoid Achilles Bone Spur Surgery:
Achilles bone spur surgery should be avoided if you you are not a surgical candidate. If you have health problems.
Achilles bone spur surgery may not be for you if:
- You have not tried better shoes.
- You have not tried a brace.
- If you are a smoker.
- If you have a systemic illness such as diabetes.
- If you cannot tolerate 6-8 weeks off of your feet.
- If you cannot tolerate being in a cast or a boot.
Achilles Bone Spur Surgery Recovery Time Specifics:
Day of surgery:
- You will be placed in a splint for 1 week, this is a non-weight bearing splint.
1 week appointment:
- You will be placed in a cast for 2 weeks.
3rd week appointment:
- You will transition into a walking boot with a lift for the next 4-6 weeks.
- Your stitches will be removed at this point.
7-8th week appointment:
- We will look at how you are doing in the boot.
- We will start physical therapy.
What Are Heel Spurs?
- Heel spurs are bony outgrowths in the heel that most frequently occur on both the bottom and the back of the heel.
- They Achilles tendon inserts on the back of the heel.
- The plantar fascia inserts into the bottom of the heel.
Causes of Heel Spurs:
- Spurs usually develop on the heel bone where a tendon or a ligament attaches to the heel bone.
- The heel spurs on the back of the heel are associated with the Achilles tendon, and this is described as an Achilles tendon insertional bone spur.
- The spurs that happened at the bottom of the foot are called plantar fasciitis associated bone spurs.
- Both the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia can cause what is considered a heel spur.
- As the ligament pulls out of the bone, this can lead to bleeding, this blood then hardens to bone.
- As the years go by, this cycle leads to a spur.
1)The plantar fasciitis bone spur:
- Bone spurs on the bottom of the heel bone are formed by the tearing out of the plantar fascia from the heel bone. The plantar fascia is a thick ligamentous structure that supports the arch. It prevents your foot from essentially breaking off from the heel bone. Usually the first step of this is called plantar fasciitis, this is when the ligament becomes inflamed and painful, and then becomes thick and scarred. The plantar fascia eventually starts to tear out of the heel bone and as the body starts to heal it, it can form some extra bone in the form of a spur.
- A lot of studies have been done about the bottom of the foot heel spur, this is something that can cause you a lot of pain. In many cases you developed microscopic tearing of the plantar fascia ligament, and as you bleed out of the bone, this blood can turn into the bone. As you can see on x-rays the spur does not point straight down into the ground, but it points forward towards the toes where the heel bone is ripping away from the plantar fascia.
- Treatment of plantar fascia heel spurs involves resting, letting the microtears heal, arch stabilizing orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, icing and stretching programs.
- Physical therapy is also useful for plantar fasciitis, steroid injections are also used to rapidly decrease plantar fasciitis pain. You can use steroid injections for the bottom of the foot, but this is a bad idea for the Achilles tendon inserting into the heel. Although there are some questions regarding this as for example the studies are not always strong.
- Most cases of plantar fasciitis will resolve a few months of treatment, but if this is something that continues for a long time for you, it may benefit from heel spur debridement or plantar fasciitis surgery. The most common way to treat this is to partially lengthen the plantar fascia ligament. When a heel spur is present, it can sometimes be removed at the same time although the studies are mixed regarding this.
- The recovery time for this generally can involve staying off it for 4 to 6 weeks in a boot or a cast. Followed by physical therapy.
They Achilles tendon insertional bone spur:
- They Achilles tendon is the largest and the most powerful tendon in the body! It is formed from two strong leg muscles the gastrocnemius and the soleus. These two muscles come together to form the Achilles tendon and they insert into the back of the heel. This is different than the bottom of the heel where the plantar fascia inserts. This is the main tendon responsible for your foot pushing downward and pushing off with your toes.
- The Achilles tendon bone spur mostly occurs in a direction pointing straight up in the direction of the Achilles tendon. This is where the edge of the shoe usually meets the heel bone. Therefore you have a lot of pain to this heel bone.
- There are many reasons why someone can develop an Achilles tendon bone spur, but most commonly it is due to overuse, prior injury, and a combination of weight gain. These bone spurs could be small, or they can be really large depending on your medical condition.
- Almost always the bone spurs will develop within the tendon, the size of the bone spur has been studied well and doesn’t always correlate with pain. Large bone spurs can be completely pain free whereas small ones can be 10 out of 10 pain that can cause crying an inability to perform even the most basic tasks.
- The first line of treatment for Achilles bone spur is to see exactly why you are having this problem! This can be done by stretching your shoes, lifting your heel so that the back of the spur is not running is the shoe. In some cases, simply lifting a heel within the same office visit can completely relieve the pain 100%.
- It is generally not the best idea to inject steroids into this heel spur, as there is at risk of damaging your Achilles tendon. But it is useful to take advantage of physical therapy, icing, anti-inflammatories and ultrasound to live alleviate the pain.
- Achilles bone spur surgery can be performed to remove the heel bone spur, for a lot of people this can be a very effective procedure the simple smaller bone spur can be excised without completely detaching the Achilles tendon. A bone spur that is very large and take up most of the tendon can often require removing a large portion of the Achilles tendon. In some cases, you may even need to perform a tendon transfer to improve the repair.
- In our clinic you do need to be in a cast for approximately 4 to 6 weeks, this is then followed by up to four weeks in a boot, which is then followed in an issue with the heel left. At this point you will need physical therapy to get your Achilles tendon moving again. As you can see this is a very long healing time!
- But if you have a spur that is not getting better, if a year has gone by and you are still in crippling pain, if you are gaining weight and becoming in worse and worse shape than whether choice do you have!
Find ways to take pressure off of the Achilles Tendon:
- The best way to do this is to find great shoes.
- Great shoes are then best combined with great orthotics.
- Sometimes a lace up ankle brace may be needed if the first two options don’t work. Usually with these three things you can take an amazing amount of pressure off it.
- The key is to actually wear them. Wearing these devices during dinner and walking barefoot for the other 23hrs of the day won’t fix the problem.
- For some people if the pain is bad, they may need a cast or boot for at least a few weeks.
- Go see your podiatrist and get an x-ray of your heel if you think something might be broken, even a pair of your Achilles tendon may need it an ultrasound or an MRI.
Stabilize the Heel With Orthotics:
- Whether the tendon is too tight or not is not the problem it’s how compressed the Achilles tendon gets against the back of the heel.
- You have to find a way to keep the heel bone from tilting up so much and pressing the Achilles tendon against the back of the heel bump.
- When it’s loaded, the calcaneus gets turned up and out.
- This twisting is when the bone rubs against the Achilles tendon the most.
Full Length Orthotics Stabilize Your Heel the Best:
- These are our favorite full length orthotics.
- These will support your heel much better than a 3/4″ length orthotic.
- The main downside is the tighter fit, so get your shoe 1/2 a size bigger.
These are the best non-lace shoe orthotics:
- These work best if your shoe is really tight and you still need a good fit!
Fix the underlying problems:
These are: Too much pressure and too little flexibility.
- If this truly is a life altering condition that you have a hard time fixing, make some of the tough choices.
- For example, I can guarantee you if you were a computer programmer and weighed 100 pounds, there is almost no chance that you would have Achilles tendinitis.
- But if you weigh 300 pounds and work on a factory floor 16 hours a day, there’s about a 95% chance that you will have knee arthritis, Achilles tendinitis, hip and back pain. One of these is guaranteed.
Why does Achilles tendinitis persist long term?
2 short answers: Too much pressure and too little flexibility.
- I’m not saying you must meet all these tough criteria listed above.
- Even losing 5 to 10 pounds can take a significant amount of pressure off your feet.
- Even stretching 1 minute every morning can make a huge difference!
- Because the important thing is once you heal this problem, you don’t want it to ever come back.
- There is no doubt about it Achilles tendonitis takes forever to get better, so give it a chance for a few weeks or months to cool down as in step 1.
- Then correct the reasons that cause that to happen in the first place, and it will stay away forever.
Stretching Does Help (Even if it doesn’t fix it alone):
- Even if it doesn’t fix the problem completely alone, this is a great modality to reduce Achilles tendinitis.
- Once you understand this concept you will understand why it happens, think about it is a rope going along the tree and you pulling against that rope.
- We have to find a way to get that bone to stop rubbing against the Achilles tendon. A lot of the times it’s by lifting up the heel bone, or getting rid of that top of the bone spur.
- An orthotic and shoe is a good way to do this long term, not stretching. But this only works if the tendon cools down from swelling first.
Our favorite static stretching devices:
- These devices mean that they do the stretching for you.
- You could wear these while watching TV for 15-30 minutes at a time.
- Studies show you will gain significant ankle flexibility after 1 month of daily wearing.
Retrocalcaneal Heel Spur Surgery:
- Retrocalcaneal Heel Spur Surgery is just another way of saying Achilles Bone Spur Surgery.
- The recovery time is still in the 6-8week range.
Retrocalcaneal heel spur surgery is also known as Achilles bone spur surgery:
- Further treatment options for Achilles Heel Spurs.
- See Dr. Tom Biernacki (Tomasz Biernacki) who is a specialist at performing this procedure.
Back of the heel pain treatment:
Best Back of Heel Pain Treatment:
- There are usually two phases to treating back of the heel pain.
- The two phases of treatment include controlling the acute inflammation, and correcting the biomechanics which led to the problem in the first place.
- If the tendons and ligaments are inflamed, they are almost frozen in place and cannot function properly.
- Once the inflammation is decreased, we need to correct the bio-mechanical causes to ensure that the Achilles tendon can never become over worked and inflamed again!
- This doesn’t matter whether it’s The back of the heel spur, fat pad atrophy, insertional Achilles tendinitis, Achilles tendinitis or even Achilles tendinosis.
- If you do have an Achilles tendon rupture or tear, seeing a podiatrist care immediately.
Achilles Tendon Natural Treatment:
Massage & Ice Products:
- Ice is the an excellent option that can be safe for almost everyone.
- There is some debate whether icing is worth doing, but for chronic pain this can help limit the need for medications and keep your options open.
- This works great for your arch, less for the ball of the foot.
- Manual massage on the Achilles tendon & calf muscle is a natural treatment that can also be considered physical therapy for your back of the heel pain.
- This works well for calf muscle pain and Achilles tendon pain.
- The more muscle and ligament tissue there is, the better ice will work there.
Menthol Based Gels:
- Biofreeze is one of our favorites.
- These gels have been studied to work 2x as long as ice.
- This works great for the ball of the foot.
- This can be very effective for pain relief, but this can decrease inflammation in the calf muscle and Achilles tendon.
- These can work great for loosening your muscles.
- This allows less tightness and pressure onto the plantar fascia and heel.
- This is very effective for the arch, the gastrocnemius or calf muscle and for the hamstring and thigh muscles.
- This also works very well for the gluteus muscles if you are having butt cheek or hip pain.
- The massage stick can break up lumps in your Achilles tendon and heel pain.
Remove the Achilles tendon tightness.
- The key is to prevent future pain stress and trauma to the Achilles tendon muscle.
- This means keeping you active while keeping stress off of your Achilles tendon. This will prevent future re-injury and development of plantar fasciitis.
- If you can get rid of the pain and swelling, this will let you start walking normally.
- If you can walk normally, the vast majority of your pain should gradually start to go away.
- The best way to ensure that your plantar fascia, foot and ankle ligaments are not overworked is to support them.
- The best way to support them is to use great orthotics and great shoes.
- Some people may also need to rely on supportive ankle braces and other supportive modalities.
Best Shoes for Back of Heel Pain:
- Getting a great supportive pair of Achilles tendonitis shoes will make sure that there is pressure removed from the heel and plantar fascia region.
- This is especially important if you have plantar fasciitis, heel spur pain or Achilles tendonitis as well.
- Consider Achilles tendonitis shoes combined with a good supportive orthotic for best pain relief!
- The following link will show you what our favorites are.
Best Achilles Tendonitis Insoles:
- These are our recommended orthotics for Achilles tendonitis.
- Custom orthotics can work very well, but they should not be a first line of treatment due to the cost.
- There are different types for different shoes.
- Women’s shoes usually need a less bulky orthotic, but allow for less correction.
- A full length orthotic requires a running shoe, boot or comfortable walking/dress shoe.
- We recommend doing everything you can to get a good supportive shoe that can fit a full length orthotic.
- A further home remedy tip for Achilles tendonitis pain is to cut out a hole where the nodule is using scissors or a knife. Be careful and start with a very low cost orthotic.
Best Full Length Achilles tendonitis Orthotics:
- These will only work in wider shoes or a good supportive running shoe.
- This will not work in sandals, flats or most women’s dress shoes.
Best Dress Shoe Achilles tendonitisOrthotics:
- These are a great choice for dress orthotics.
Best 3/4 Length Achilles tendonitis Orthotics:
- These are great options for women’s dress shoes and thinner shoes.
- These are not the most supportive pair of orthotics.
Get A Great Dynamic Stretch:
- It is possible to stretch on your own, but these products can also really help!
- This will take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
- This is a for of back of the heel pain physical therapy that breaks up the scar tissue.
- We personally prefer this method of stretching.
Get A Great Static Stretch:
- These devices are great for stretching while you are resting.
- This is a very good Achilles tendonitis physical therapy that you can do at home.
- This will also help take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
- This works great for plantar fasciitis.
- It can be used while watching TV or at night time.
Best Heel Compression Brace:
- A good compression brace can stabilize your foot from turning outward.
- This prevents your foot from pronated.
- Pronated foot will turn your foot outward in your foot will rub on the outside of the shoe.
- For many of her patients this has solved their pain and is very comfortable to wear inside your shoe.
- This solves both pain and outward pronation for a relatively low cost.
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Best Heel Stability Brace:
- Stability brace goes little bit further than the compression brace to stop your foot from turning out.
- This takes pressure off of your heel and plantar fascia.
- At the same time this is a little bit bulkier and does not affect every shoe.
- We find people are little bit happier trying the compression brace before the stability brace.
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Severe Achilles tendonitis Pain:
- If you think you might have a broken heel, a calcaneal stress fracture or something of similar severity, these products might help!
- Always remember to see a foot and ankle specialist like a podiatrist if you are having plantar fasciitis or more severe pain!
Plantar Fascia Tear, Broken Heel Bone, Achilles Tendon Tear:
- If you have a traumatic injury such as a torn plantar fascia ligament, calcaneus stress fracture, heel fracture or insertional Achilles tendon injury: consider protecting your foot!
- The best way to do this is of course to see your podiatrist and get evaluated with an x-ray, ultrasound and potentially even an MRI or CT scan.
- If you are unable to do so it may benefit you to be in a cast, fractured boot, or even keep the weight off of it with a rolling knee scooter or other protective devices.
- We as podiatrists frequently take patients off work for very long period of time when they suffer a traumatic injury, unfortunately there is no other way around us in labor jobs.
- If you have a sit down job there are ways to get people back to work quicker, but this can be very difficult otherwise.
Heel Injury Boot Treatment:
- There are pros and cons to using a boot to treat your heel injury. If you are immobilized too long the cons are that you will gradually become stiff and overworked to your other leg. The Pros are that you injured heel will hopefully have a chance to gradually heal!
- Our favorite fracture boots and their supplies:
Offloading and Scooter treatment:
- These are favorite knee scooters and walking devices.
- If your Achilles tendonitis pain is severe, offloading it can be very effective until the pain calms down.