Bone Spurs On The Heel
By Theresa Adams, ATC
What is a Heel or Bone Spur?
A quick answer a heel spur is a calcium deposit causing a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel bone, a process that usually occurs over a period of many months. Heel spurs are often caused by strains on foot muscles and ligaments, stretching of the plantar fascia, and repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone. Bone spurs of the heel are especially common among athletes whose activities include large amounts of running and jumping.
What are the Symptoms of a Heel Spur?
Heel spurs can cause intermittent or chronic pain — especially while walking, jogging, or running. In general, the cause of the pain is not the heel spur itself but the soft-tissue injury associated with it. Plantar Fasciitis is commonly associated with bone spurs of the heel. Many people describe the pain of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis as a knife or pin sticking into the bottom of their feet when they first stand up in the morning, a pain that later turns into a dull ache. They often complain that the sharp pain returns after they stand up after sitting for a prolonged period of time.
How do you know if you have a Bone Spur in your Heel?
Although many people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, spurs are not the cause of plantar fasciitis pain. One out of 10 people has heel spurs, but only 1 out of 20 people (5%) with heel spurs has foot pain. Because the spur is not the cause of plantar fasciitis, the pain can be treated without removing the spur. Your doctor may order imaging tests to help make sure your heel pain is caused by plantar fasciitis and not another problem. The quick answer is X-rays provide clear images of bones, and heel spurs can often be seen on an x-ray. They are also useful in ruling out other causes of heel pain, such as fractures or arthritis.
Treatment for Bone Spurs of the Heel?
There are several conservative options for fixing heel spur pain:
- Stretching the calf muscles can help
- Ice the heel
- Medications for inflammation
- Custom orthotics: JOI Rehab has clinicians who can produce a custom orthotic with a cut out for the heel or bone spur. This is basically a hole in the insert at the exact location of the spur to give it a donut area. This area decreases the pressure on the spur and can be very effective in reducing the pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy
Where can I go for physical therapy for Bone Spurs of the Heel?
The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute offers expert orthopaedic foot and ankle care as well as physical therapy to help with your heel pain. JOI has 12 physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville and Northeast FL who specialize in orthopedic rehab. For appointments, please call 904-858-7045.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI, call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online or click below.