What Are Heel Spurs?

The heel is the largest bone within the foot and is connected to a network of tendons, muscles, and ligaments making it prone to pain. One common heel ailment is a heel spur. Heel spurs are small bone-like protrusions that can severely limit a person’s mobility, making even walking around a painful experience. Fortunately for those who suffer from pain related to bone spurs, relief can be found through non-surgical treatment options.

HEEL SPURS

heel spur is a common foot condition that is defined by a bony-like growth, made from an excess of calcium deposits, that develops from the bottom of your heel bone towards the arch of the foot over time. They are often a result of strain on the muscles and ligaments within the heel and foot.

As the spur grows, they can begin to affect other parts of your foot, growing up to half an inch in length. A heel spur may not always be visible without X-ray and do not always cause symptoms of pain or irritation.

SYMPTOMS

The common symptoms of heel spurs may include the following:

As stated above, sometimes heel spurs may not be visible to the naked eye or present any symptoms.

CAUSES

Heel spurs are often directly caused by long-term muscle and ligament strain due to repetitive stress. Spurs often develop over time and tend to progress as patients ignore early symptoms of pain.

Common causes of heels spurs may include:

Certain conditions such as arthritis and plantar fasciitis can also increase your risk of developing heel spurs.

DIAGNOSIS

Heel spurs are generally diagnosed during exams for heel pain or other foot conditions. Your podiatrist will conduct a physical exam and note any inflammation, tenderness, redness, or warmth around the area that may be an indication of a heel spur. Other physical tests and a diagnostic x-ray will be used to confirm a diagnosis.

TREATMENT

Many non-surgical treatment options can provide relief from heel spurs. Though permanent, many patients find relief without the need for surgical intervention.

Conservative treatment often consists of rest and lifestyle changes. Applying cold compresses to the area, taking anti-inflammatory medication, and using orthotic inserts and supports within your shoes are all non-surgical treatment options. Additionally, physical therapy exercises and stretches can help to relieve tension and pain along the heel and arch of the foot.

If after several months, conservative treatment does not offer any significant relief, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. This treatment not only reduces pain with the removal of the spur but also improves mobility within the foot.

Following surgery, individuals should anticipate wearing surgical bandages for at least two weeks. It will take time to recover from the surgery before you can place weight on your feet again. Your podiatrist may prescribe crutches or other weight-bearing supports to help you move around during the recovery process. While some patients may recover within a few weeks, it may take several months for patients to make a full recovery after the surgery.

LOWER YOUR RISK

Here are several things you can do to lower your risk of developing heel spurs:

For more information on heel spurs or to schedule an appointment today, please contact Tjoe Podiatry today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Selecting Your Summer Footwear

From flip flops, sandals, wedge heels, and even barefoot in the sand, your summer footwear options are endless. Summer footwear may be fun, but unfortunately, many of the summer options lack adequate support compared to other seasonal shoes.

What Are Misaligned Feet?

Foot pain is a common complaint to which nearly everyone can relate. Though some may only experience it after a great trek through the wilderness or when breaking in new shoes, others may have chronic pain and discomfort that they just can’t solve.

Tailor’s Bunion

Many of us may be familiar with bunions, a bump that often forms along the big toe, but did you know you can get a bunion on other toes? Another area a bunion can develop is on the pinkie or little toe! If you develop a bunion on your little toe,...

Caring For Sunburned Feet

With the weather heating up, summer will be here before we know it! As restrictions lessen, many of us are taking time to enjoy the outdoors–swimming, sunbathing, hiking, picnicking, and more!

Fun Foot Facts

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), 20% of Americans experience at least one-foot problem every year. This is no surprise as the feet are designed to support the entire body; they move us through the day and...

What Is A Foot Fracture?

The foot is a complex structure consisting of several small bones, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues responsible for bearing your weight and helping you navigate the world around you at your desired pace.