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Painful heel syndrome: results of nonoperative treatment.

One hundred five patients (70% female and 30% male; average age, 48 years) with 132 symptomatic heels were treated according to a standard nonoperative protocol and then reviewed at an average follow-up of 29 months. The treatment protocol consisted of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, relative rest, viscoelastic polymer heel cushions, Achilles tendon stretching exercises, and, occasionally, injections. Obesity, lifestyle (athletic versus sedentary), sex, and presence or size of heel spur did not influence the treatment outcome. Ninety-four patients (89.5%) had resolution of heel pain within 10.9 months. Six patients (5.7%) continued to have significant pain, but did not elect to have operative treatment, and five patients (4.8%) elected to have surgical intervention. Despite attention to the outcome of surgical treatment for heel pain in the current literature, initial treatment for heel pain is nonoperative. The treatment protocol used in this study was successful for 89.5% of the patients.

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