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Coordinated Health

Runner Recovers from Bone Spur Surgery

By: Hannah Ropp   October 17, 2019
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Tracy Wartman has had her share of running-related injuries over the last 30 years. However, it wasn’t until the last year that she had an injury that required more extensive care. Fortunately, she knew she could turn to her long-time physician, Coordinated Health Podiatric Surgeon Edward Schwartz to get her back on track.

Running has been a big part of Tracy Wartman’s life. She began running at the age of 14 and quickly found that it was something she excelled at. She ran competitively through high school and was named an All American at Moravian College, however, nowadays she has traded competitive running for recreational. 

Tracy’s had her share of running-related injuries over the years. In fact, she got to know Coordinated Health Podiatric Surgeon Dr. Shwartz so well that she babysat his kids when she was younger. She says her injuries were normal for runners and ranged from small stress fractures to ankle sprains that generally went away with minimal issues. However, last year she began to experience prolonged foot pain that wouldn’t go away. “I knew it was time to go see Dr. Schwartz when it literally hurt to wear shoes,” said Tracy. 

Dr. Schwartz told Tracy that she had a development of bone spurs on the back of her heel, right where the achilles tendon attaches. “When there are bone spurs in that area it tends to get very sore when it rubs against shoes and she was putting in quite a bit of mileage at this point so it wasn’t surprising that she was having quite a bit of pain,” says Dr. Schwartz.

Initially Dr. Schwartz tried conservative treatment methods like physical therapy, over-the-counter medication and ultrasound treatments, but, the pain persisted and she was unable to run. Finally, Dr. Schwartz told her that her best chance of being able to run pain free again was through surgery. 

Dr. Schwartz admits the surgery is complex. “The surgical approach involves partially detaching a portion of the achilles tendon, removing the bone spurs and then reattaching the achilles tendon. It’s an outpatient surgery, but because of the work that’s involved with attaching and reattaching the achilles tendon there is a period of non weight bearing involved for several weeks after the surgery,” he says. 

While nervous about having surgery, Tracy says she completely trusted Dr. Shwartz. “He knows how I am with running and wanting to be active so when he said that surgery was an option, I said, let’s just do it,” says Tracy.

Since she is a teacher and spends so much time on her feet, Tracy opted to have the surgery during her schools Christmas break and even took a some extra time to make sure she would have time to recover. She says that her entire experience at Coordinate Health Bethlehem Hospital was outstanding. “It was a really good experience. I was pleasantly surprised with how smooth everything went and how pleasant everyone was,” she says. 

Following the surgery, Dr. Schwartz recommended that Tracy use a scooter to get around at school. After a few weeks on the scooter she transitioned into a boot and then slowly transitioned into regular shoes. She says the entire process took several months, but was well worth the wait. 

Tracy admits that getting back into running was a slow process. “It was a frustrating and liberating process. After months in the boot I was happy to be outside and running again, but I didn’t want to rush because I really wanted to make sure that everything healed correctly,” she says.

Now Tracy is back to her running routine and says she is grateful to Dr. Schwartz and would absolutely recommend him. “I would absolutely recommend Dr. Schwartz. I’ve been seeing him for over 30 years, my family all goes to him as well and we trust him 110 percent,” she says. 

 

 

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