The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the cord-like tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of your foot and supports the arch. About 2 million people a year seek treatment for it.
But if you have plantar fasciitis, you may also have heel bone spurs, calcium deposits that cause a bony protrusion under the heel bone and along the fascia. They may not bother you much, but then again, they might cause a great deal of pain
At Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, our board-certified podiatrists understand how uncomfortable heel spurs can be and how much they can limit your activities. That’s why we provide state-of-the-art solutions to get you back on your feet again. Here’s what you need to know.
Heel spurs are often confused with plantar fasciitis, probably because plantar fasciitis increases your risk of developing heel spurs, and heel spurs often occur in people who suffer from plantar fasciitis. But they’re two separate conditions.
Heel spurs are often caused by muscle and ligament strains in the foot, wear-and-tear of the plantar fascia, and repeated tears of the heel bone’s membrane, all of which allow calcium deposits to build up and form a hard structure.
They can be pointed, hooked, or shelf-like, and on an X-ray, they can extend as much as a half-inch forward from the heel itself. They’re particularly common in athletes who do a lot of running and jumping, since these actions produce repetitive stress.
Risk factors for developing heel spurs include:
If you’re fortunate, your heel spurs produce no symptoms. But for most, these bony growths are associated with intermittent or chronic pain, especially while on your feet. Usually, the source of the pain isn’t the heel spur itself, but rather the soft-tissue injury that comes with it.
Many of our patients describe the pain as like a knife stabbing into the soles of their feet when they first arise, which turns into more of a dull ache as they move around, only to return to the sharp pain again if they sit for a long time and then get up.
Asymptomatic heel spurs may not need any treatment. But if you’re in pain, you have a number of options. Here at Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, we always start with the conservative options first, including:
Heel spurs rarely require surgical removal. In fact, more than 90% of patients get better without surgery. But if conservative treatments fail over the course of 9-12 months, surgery may be necessary.
We can perform procedures either to release the plantar fascia, if the conditions are coexisting, or remove the spur under the heel.
No amount of treatment can beat prevention. You can prevent heel spurs by:
If you have painful bone spurs, call us to schedule a consultation, or book online today. We have convenient locations in the Beverly/Mount Greenwood and Portage Park areas of Chicago, as well as in Orland Park and New Lenox, Illinois.