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Family Foot & Ankle

Heel Spurs Explained

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You’re probably already quite aware, but the upcoming Halloween holiday is definitely a time to celebrate the strange and unusual. In how many other contexts is it socially acceptable for middle-aged (and older!) men and women to dress up like scary zombies, witches, and SpongeBob SquarePants and pass out candy in public? Sometimes a little bit of the unusual can be quite fun. Sometimes, though, unusual formations like heel spurs can be much less fun.

heel spurHeel spurs are a type of bone spur that are located on the underside of the heel and often go hand-in-hand with plantar fasciitis. It is important to note that heel spurs are not “pump bumps.” A pump bump is more properly known as a Haglund’s deformity and develops on the back of the heel, instead of under it. Both cases do entail a bony enlargement that leads to issues, though.

When it comes to a heel spur, calcium deposited over an extended period of time builds up underneath the heel, in the back. The calcium deposits are often in response to excessive strain on ligaments and muscles, repeated tearing to the membrane covering the heel bone, or even plantar fasciitis. The resulting spur typically extends forward, as much as a quarter of an inch in length.

Bone spurs, include those found on the heel, do not actually have cause symptoms on their own. Given that they are essentially extra bone tissue you are as likely to feel one as you would any bone in your body (without the use of your hands). Of course, body parts do not function on their own islands, and are connected to and affected by other parts. This comes into play as we look at heel spurs and the problems they can raise, including pain and inflammation.

The pain caused by a heel spur isn’t actually the spur itself. Instead, the real problem is a spur pressing into soft tissue around it. In this case, the affected tissue is usually the plantar fascia. To treat this, we will typically find ways to relieve the pressure being caused by the spur.

When you experience either chronic or intermittent pain from a heel spur and require medical attention, Family Foot & Ankle Center is ready to help. We are Cincinnati’s best source for foot and ankle treatment, so contact us today. Connect with us online or simply give our friendly staff a call at (513) 728-4800 and we will be happy to help schedule your appointment.
Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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