A heel spur is a bony growth on your heel that can cause pain when walking. It can develop if you frequently wear high heels, if you are an athlete who does a lot of running or jumping, or if you have plantar fasciitis – which is inflammation of the thick band of tissue along the bottom of the foot.
If the inflammation of the plantar fascia is due to repeated stretching and tearing of the tissue, calcified deposits can develop on the heel bone due to a lack of protection and support of the bone. These calcium deposits are heel spurs.
Let’s talk about how heel spurs develop and what you can do about them.
How Heel Spurs Develop
Your plantar fascia is the band of fibrous tissue that supports the natural arch in your foot, preventing the flattening of your feet. When this tissue becomes inflamed, the resulting plantar fasciitis causes heel pain due to small tears in the tissue. These tears are not natural, and the openings can invite growths to form on the heel bone.
Your body attempts to heal the injured plantar fascia through fibroblastic activity. This releases osteoblasts to the area, and these osteoblasts actually form bone growths called heel spurs.
What causes the heel pain and inflammation in the first place is when you constantly place pounding pressure on your heels. That is why women who wear high heels and athletes who put frequent pressure on their heels are particularly susceptible to heel spurs.
Symptoms and Risks of a Heel Spur
The first symptom of a heel spur is pain in the heel area, which actually gets worse while at rest and improves with activity. If left unaddressed, a heel spur can cause severe pain that can interfere with your day-to-day activities.
Your risk of developing a heel spur increases if you:
- Have an active lifestyle
- Have a history of an ankle sprain
- Are overweight
- Are pregnant
- Have high arches or flat feet
- Wear high-heeled or ill-fitting shoes
- Spend a lot of time on your feet every day
The elderly are also prone to developing a heel spur, because there is a natural weakening of the muscles and joints as we age. If you have diabetes, you are at risk of many foot and ankle issues, including heel spurs.
Can Heel Spurs Heal?
Fortunately, a heel spur is rarely permanent. Just like how plantar fasciitis can be treated successfully, so can heel spurs.
One thing you can do is to get shoe orthotics that will stop putting repeated pressure on that spot of your heel. You can also treat the area with ice, pain-relief medication, and physical therapy.
Surgery used to be the solution of choice for doctors to treat heel spurs, but doctors now try to allow the spur to be eliminated naturally by lessening pressure on the spur. If the heel spur is causing unbearable pain and is not responding to other treatments, surgery may be necessary to provide relief.
Treatment for Heel Spurs in Central Maryland
If you are suffering from heel pain, our orthopedic doctors at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland can help you find relief that lasts. We specialize in musculoskeletal issues of all kinds, and we know how to pinpoint the cause of the pain and provide a solution.
To schedule a consultation with our orthopedic physicians, contact our friendly team today by calling us at (410) 644-1880 or toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663) or request an appointment by filling out our online form now. We will get you back on your feet in no time!