A heel spur is the term used when a bony growth appears on the underside of the calcaneous ( heel bone). It may not be painful when it is first being formed but as time progresses it can become painful.
Heel spurs typically form when there is long term, excessive pulling on the part of the heel where the plantar fascia (a band of fibrous connective tissue that runs from the heel to the toes) attaches to the bone. When the plantar fascia loses its elasticity due to age or injury, it exerts tension on the heel. Over time this will cause a heel spur to develop.
Risk factors and other causes of heel spurs include:
• Poorly fitting shoes
• Weight gain
• Exercising on hard surfaces
• Natural aging
• Shoes with little or no arch support
• Long periods of time spent standing
The symptoms of a heel spur are described as sharp pains in the bottom of the heel when putting your feet on the ground, especially after prolonged periods of rest. This pain usually diminishes when walking for a while, but doesn’t go away completely. It will return again when walking is resumed.
A heel spur is diagnosed definitively by performing a physical exam and an x-ray. Treatment options include stretching exercises, cold compresses to the area, using custom molded orthotics, physical therapy, localized injections of anti-inflammatory and pain medication, and taping the foot to give the muscles and tendons a rest. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be required.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center please call 718-206-7001.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.