At The Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center, we understand the debilitating effects of heel spurs, also known as bone spurs, on your everyday life. Heel spurs are bony growths that develop on the heel bone and can cause intense heel pain. Keep reading to dive into the symptoms, causes, and various treatment options available to provide relief and restore your mobility.
Understanding Heel Spurs:
Heel spurs typically occur when calcium deposits accumulate on the underside of the heel bone, leading to a bony outgrowth. They often develop as a result of repetitive strain or stress on the foot, which can be caused by factors such as obesity, foot biomechanics, or wearing ill-fitting shoes. While not all heel spurs cause pain, they can lead to discomfort and inflammation in the surrounding tissues, resulting in symptoms that should not be ignored. Symptoms of heel spurs may include intense heel pain, swelling and inflammation, tenderness, and radiating pain.
Taking steps to prevent heel spurs can significantly reduce the risk of developing this condition:
- Maintain a healthy weight to minimize excess strain on the feet.
- Wear properly fitted and supportive shoes suitable for your foot type and activities.
- Gradually increase the intensity and duration of physical activities to avoid overexertion.
- Stretch the achilles and calf muscles before exercise
The treatment of bone spurs aims to alleviate pain, improve function, and restore mobility. The following conservative/non-surgical treatment options may be recommended by your orthopaedic physician:
- Rest and Modification of Activities: Avoiding activities that worsen the pain can help alleviate symptoms.
- Ice and Heat Therapy: Alternating between ice packs and warm compresses can reduce inflammation and provide relief.
- Orthotic Devices: Customized orthotic devices, inserts, or arch supports can help redistribute pressure, relieve pain, and correct biomechanical imbalances.
- Stretching and Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises and stretches can strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding the affected area, promoting healing and reducing pain.
- Medications: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may provide temporary pain relief, but prolonged use should be monitored.
- Properly Fitted Shoes: Wearing shoes that provide ample arch support, cushioning, and a roomy toe box can help reduce pressure on the heel and alleviate symptoms.
- Corticosteroid Injections: Injections of corticosteroids directly into the affected area can reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief.
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT): High-energy shock waves are applied to the affected area to stimulate healing and reduce pain.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections: a patient’s own blood is drawn and placed on a centrifuge to isolate the platelets. This is injected back into the affected area to stimulate healing and reduce pain.
- Surgery: In cases where conservative methods are not effective, surgical intervention, including minimally invasive procedures, may be considered to remove the bone spur and relieve symptoms. “Once extensive, conservative management options have been exhausted, I will discuss surgical intervention with my patients. Thankfully, options today involve a minimally invasive approach which limits pain and scarring. The implants used, when necessary, are also vastly improved which allows for earlier weight bearing and range of motion. “ says Dr. Thomas Sanders, orthopaedic surgeon at The Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center.
Heel spurs can be a source of persistent pain and discomfort, impacting your mobility and quality of life. At The Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center, our team of specialists are dedicated to diagnosing and treating heel spurs effectively, using a personalized approach that suits your unique needs. With a comprehensive range of conservative and medical interventions, we strive to help you find relief from heel spur symptoms, regain your mobility, and get back to doing what you love. Don't let heel spurs hold you back—schedule an appointment with us today!