Posted by: yourhealthradio | December 15, 2011

House Calls – Bone Spurs & Colace for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

House Calls from the Carrboro Citizen 12.15.11

Dear HOUSE Calls, I have a bone spur on my big right toe. I was told if I had surgery for it, it may grow back. Is that true?
That is a great question, and we think you already have the answer. Bone spurs are usually a reaction to chronic tendonitis or foot deformity, and solving the problem won’t eliminate the cause. It also may not eliminate the symptoms. With bone spurs of the heels and toes, we think it is important to understand the cause and try all possible non-surgical approaches before considering surgery. Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help with pain and inflammation, as can ice. Sometimes the most important thing is wearing shoes that fit well; shoe modifications or custom orthotics can change the way your shoes fit. With toe spurs, the most important thing is often ample room in the toe box, which means no pointy shoes. You may want to see someone who specializes in orthotics, like a physical therapist who can help you with the best shoe fit for your problem. Surgery is a last resort, but if you do need surgery, it is still critical to correct the underlying condition that led to the spur. Hopefully if you do that, it will not recur.
Dear HOUSE Calls, I have irritable bowel syndrome and find that taking a daily colace helps me regulate my bowel movements. Is there any problem with that?
We usually don’t think of colace (generic docusate) for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Most patients with IBS have diarrhea-predominant IBS or fluctuate between diarrhea and constipation. However, there is a subset with constipation-predominant IBS. We have many patients with chronic constipation that get some relief with daily docusate. It acts by softening the stools and drawing water into the colon. This is actually quite safe; just be sure to take it with plenty of fluids. We do discourage people from taking stimulant laxatives daily, but this type of stool softener (like docusate) has little downside, is cheap and is available without a prescription. So our take on this is if it helps you manage your symptoms, this is a perfectly reasonable approach.


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