Bring Heel Spurs to Heel
You’ve all seen old westerns where the cowboy drives his spurs into the horse’s flanks and the horse takes off at a gallop. You’d probably take off at a gallop too, if someone jabbed your sides with something sharp! If you’ve ever felt as if someone has poked a sharp object into the heel of your foot, you may have developed a heel spur. It’s not made of metal, and no one is poking you, but you are likely ready to run for relief.
What is a Heel Spur?
This protrusion from the bone of your heel is actually a calcium deposit. When the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that runs from your heel to the front of your foot, absorbs a lot of stress, it can become stretched or torn. The resulting swelling and inflammation can cause it to pull against the heel bone, and in response, the bone forms more calcium to extend itself and accommodate the pull. This growth comes slowly over a period of months, but the spur can eventually grow as long as half an inch.
Why Does It Hurt?
The spur itself doesn’t hurt, but with your movements it pokes and prods into the soft tissue around it, like a rider’s spur pokes into a horse’s side. Whenever tissue is irritated in this way, pain can result. Since plantar fasciitis is often related to problems with arch support or your gait, other muscle or ligament discomfort may also be felt. If you have a sharp pain in your heel, you will want to have the specialists at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates check it out.
Risk Factors for Heel Spurs
If something in the structure of your foot causes you to have an abnormal walking gait, you are more at risk for developing plantar fasciitis and a spur may form. Running on hard pavement can also cause trauma to the heel, especially if your shoes don’t fit properly or don’t have the right arch support or cushioning. And, as much as we hate to hear this, excess weight can definitely make the feet more prone to developing this condition. Jobs that involve a lot of standing, flat feet, or high arches can also increase your risk. People with diabetes are unfortunately prone to this and many other foot problems as well.
What to Do for Spurs on Your Heel
If you’ve experienced heel pain for over a month, it’s time to let one of the specialists at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates take a look at your foot. They can evaluate your symptoms and take an x-ray if needed to see if a spur is present. Many times they will suggest conservative treatments like stretches, taping, or proper shoes to alleviate your symptoms. Our experts may measure and fit your feet for custom shoe orthotics to correct an imbalance in your gait, or prescribe physical therapy for your condition. Surgery will be recommended only if all other methods are not able to bring relief. Call our foot specialists today at their Rego Park location at (718) 896-4433, Plainview office at (516) 822-9595 or Flushing location at (718) 969-2266 or you can quickly request an appointment online. Our goal is help you to enjoy a life without foot pain!
Photo credit: David Freedman, DPM