A heel spur is a small, bony growth that extends from the bottom of the heel bone. It is formed over many months from the deposit of calcium and is often associated with another condition called plantar fasciitis. These conditions are created by excess stress and strain to the tendons and ligaments of the foot and are frequently seen in athletes who do a lot of running and jumping with quick starts and stops. A heel spur may not always be painful, but the protrusion can sometimes extend out a half an inch.
Other contributing factors to developing heel spurs include:
Poorly fitting shoes—Proper arch support is essential to avoiding some of the tendon and ligament stress and damage that can lead to the growth of a heel spur. Always have your feet measured when getting new footwear, and make sure you know your foot type to know what kind of arch support to use. This is also extremely important to address the possible gait abnormalities that can put excessive pressure on the heel.
Aging and weight gain—As you age and possibly put on a few pounds, the flexibility of the plantar fascia lessens and the protective layer of fat on the heel diminishes, increasing the occurrence of heel spurs.
Treatment for heel spurs includes:
Heel spurs will often respond well to conservative measures including properly fitted shoes with extra cushioning in the heel area; physical therapy to increase strength and to relax the inflamed tissue; corticosteroid injections; and custom fitted orthotics for stabilization and additional heel cushioning.
If you are experiencing heel pain, the podiatrists at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, in New York City, NY, are experts in providing the best care for any problems you may be having with your feet and ankles. Sorelis Jimenez, DPM, John W. Fletcher, DPM, and Kamilla Danilova, DPM and the rest of the staff at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, are happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Check out our Ask The Doctor page for answers to frequently asked questions, and never hesitate to give us a call to talk or make an appointment at 212-845-9991.