What Are Heel Spurs?

Pointed calcium deposits or bony outgrowths on the back or bottom of the heel bone are called heel spurs. These deposits cause inflammation in the surrounding tissue, leading to pain, especially when walking. Heel spurs develop over time on areas of repeated strain, stretching, or impact.

You may be at risk for heel spurs due to the following activities:

» Physical activity such as jogging, running, and jumping
» Exercising on hard surfaces
» Wearing shoes with inadequate support
» Gait abnormalities that stress the heel and arch
» Obesity
» Being on your feet all day
» Aging
» Flat feet
» Diabetes

Heel spurs are not usually painful, but they can cause pain in conjunction with another foot condition. A heel spur is located where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone, plantar fasciitis or inflammation and pain can occur. The pain from plantar fasciitis and heel spurs is usually a sharp, stabbing pain when you first stand up in the morning or after being off of your feet for a while. The pain will recede to a dull ache. Pain is most noticeable when stepping down with the heel. Another area that may be aggravated by a heel spur is the Achilles tendon. In this case, pushing off the ball of the foot will cause back of the heel pain due to inflammation.

You can help deter the development of heel spurs by wearing shoes with good support, replacing worn shoes, losing weight if needed, and warming up by stretching before physical activities.

How are Heel Spurs Treated?

If you notice pain and discomfort when walking barefoot or heel pain that lasts more than a month, schedule an appointment with Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic. One of our podiatrists will examine your foot, discuss your symptoms and take an X-ray to confirm the heel spur.

Non-surgical treatments for heel spurs include:

» Anti-inflammatories
» Custom orthotics
» Cortisone injection therapy
» Stretching exercises
» Shoe recommendations
» Taping or strapping
» Physical therapy

If non-surgical treatment fail to relieve the symptoms, surgery may be needed.

What To Expect If Surgery Is Recommended?

If your are still suffering from pain or mobility issues after 9 months, your foot and ankle surgeon may recommend a surgical procedure. Heel spur surgical techniques include: removal of the spur and release of the plantar fascia. Your recovery period will be determined by the procedure.

If you suffer from heel spurs, give us a call at one of our 5 local podiatry offices in Charlotte, Concord and Harrisburg today for more information or to schedule an appointment.