A heel spur is a foot condition caused by a bony-like growth. The growth, resulting from a build-up of calcium, extends from your heel bone to your arch.
Heel spurs typically begin in the front of and beneath your heel. If left untreated, a heel spur will affect other areas of your foot. Heel spurs can grow as long as half an inch. However, people can struggle to notice heel spurs since they do not always cause pain.
If you are concerned or suspect that you may have spurs, you shouldn’t wait to see a doctor. Make an appointment today to get the treatment and symptom relief you need.
Long-term muscle and ligament strain cause heel spurs. The extreme strain stresses the heel bone and leads to the development of spurs. Heel spurs do not immediately form in your foot. They develop over time and worsen if you ignore the early symptoms.
The most common causes of heel spurs include repetitive stress from walking or running. The causes can also include jumping on hard surfaces. Heel spurs can also develop due to:
Heel spur symptoms vary depending on the severity. The symptoms may include:
Heel spur symptoms can spread all the way to the arch of your foot. If you leave a heel spur untreated, part of your bone may start to protrude. Still, some individuals will never see any tissue or bone changes around the heel.
More intensive medical testing is sometimes necessary to identify a heel spur. You should speak with your physician about whether these tests are necessary for you.
Along with the previously mentioned risk factors, some conditions can make certain individuals more prone to developing heel spurs. Many people with heel spurs have already developed a condition known as plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition and one of the most common causes of heel pain. The condition causes the band of tissue that supports your foot’s arch to become inflamed or irritated. Plantar fasciitis results in a greater likelihood of developing heel spurs.
Many consider these conditions to be interchangeable, but they are distinctly different. Plantar fasciitis resolves on its own after weeks or months of healing. By contrast, a heel spur remains permanently in the heel. The only way to remove heel spurs is through surgery, though doctors rarely recommend this.
Like heel spurs, excessive pressure can cause other sources of foot pain. Two types of pain may come from developing a corn or a bunion. Before speaking with your doctor, it helps to know the difference between corns and bunions.
If these describe your foot symptoms or present discomfort, you should make an appointment with an orthopedist or podiatrist. A specialized doctor can help you to decide what next steps you should take in your foot health.
Most people require medical assistance before they can properly diagnose a heel spur. Heel spur symptoms present themselves like other types of foot and heel issues, so it is essential for a physician to physically examine the patient. Once you schedule a medical appointment, there are several ways that a doctor may diagnose a heel spur:
You can minimize and eliminate heel pain with proper home care. However, some heel pain is ongoing and requires immediate medical attention. Visit your primary doctor if you experience:
Most often, heel spur treatments consist of individual lifestyle changes. You may find that certain treatments work better for you than others. At-home treatment options can include:
These exercises can be done during any time of the day. However, a doctor may suggest that you perform them at night before you go to sleep.
Alternative treatments for heel spurs can involve medicinal or surgical options. Make sure to speak with your doctor prior to exploring the following treatment avenues:
The best way for you to prevent heel spurs is monitoring your foot health. Notice the stress you place on your feet and give your feet rest. Do not push through heel pain or avoid visits to the doctor when they are necessary.