Bone spurs are very common foot problems. They develop most frequently in the heel, near the toes, or on top of the big toe joint. The spurs are small outgrowths of bone. In and of themselves, they are generally harmless. However, their location may cause friction or irritation from shoes or other foot structures, which can lead to other foot problems.

Heel spurs refer specifically to bone spurs in the heel. Heel spurs are growths of bone on the underside, forepart of the heel bone and occur when the plantar fibrous band pulls at its attachment to the heel bone. This area of the heel later calcifies to form a spur.

Causes of Bone Spurs

  • Buildup of calcium deposits over a period of months
  • Muscle or ligament strains
  • Obesity
  • Plantar fasciitis , the inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the tissue stretching underneath your soles and attaching to your heels
  • Running or jogging on hard surfaces
  • Walking gait that places excessive stress on the heel bone, ligaments, and nerves near the heel
  • Wearing poorly fitting shoes, especially those with inadequate arch support

Symptoms of Bone Spurs

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic or intermittent pain, especially when you jog, run, or walk
  • Recurrence of pain when you stand after sitting for an extended period of time
  • Sensations of sharp pain that eventually change into dull aches
  • Tendinitis

Treatments for Bone Spurs

  • Anti-inflammatory medication, such as cortisone injections or ibuprofen (Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medication.)
  • Custom-made orthotics --NOPA offers more than 150 unique possibilities!
  • Ice on the area using an ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel--ice for 20-30 minutes at a time with 40-60 minutes intervals
  • Over-the-counter pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching exercises--click on our Patient Forms page to download our "Plantar Fasciitis Rehabilitation Exercises" PDF
  • Surgery, in the most extreme cases if more conservative treatments are not effective
  • Wearing athletic or running shoes with soft, cushioned soles

Prevention of Bone Spurs

  • Pacing yourself when exercising
  • Warming up and doing stretching exercises before physical activity
  • Wearing activity- and sport-specific shoes
  • Wearing properly fitting shoes with shock-absorbent soles, rigid shanks, and supportive heel counters

For more information on bone spur treatment, call New Orleans Podiatry Associates in New Orleans, LA, at (504) 897-3627. For the Metairie, LA, location, call (504) 457-2300.

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