The word “spurs” frequently conjures up images of cowboy boots and jangling metal stars attached to the back of them. Those small spikes were used to poke horses just enough to motivate them to move forward. Your body can actually develop its own “spurs” on your bones. Though not able to help you motivate your ride to move faster, something painful, like a heel spur, can certainly motivate you to seek the treatment you need.
A heel spur is a small, pointed growth of extra bone under your calcaneus, or heel bone. It develops in response to stress and pressure, usually from chronic plantar fasciitis. However, Achilles tendon problems could create a growth on the back of your heel as well. The extra bump develops because your bones create more calcium deposits under stress. The more the plantar fascia swells and pulls on the heel bone, the more it strains the tissue there and encourages excess growth.
Sometimes the development of spurs doesn’t affect your discomfort. Other times, however, it can pinch the soft tissues around it—or even become inflamed. Your heel may be tender from the growth. Generally, putting weight on the affected foot will make the discomfort worse. People with arch trouble, whether too flat or excessively high, are more prone to the foot stress that would cause a bony bump. The longer the issue goes without being addressed, the worse it will become.
Reducing Stress to Relieve Pain
Fortunately, a heel spur isn’t a life sentence for tender feet that limit your activity. You will need to have your condition checked and begin intentional treatment to eliminate your discomfort, though. Dr. Robert Parker will evaluate your condition to see what caused the excess bone growth. Our staff may use X-rays or other images to identify the exact location and size of the spur. Then, we can work through your options for treatment.
You’ll need to rest from your normal activities for a little while so you can recover. Relieving pressure on the hindfoot and relaxing the tightened tissues will help. You may need to ice your heel to help lower any inflammation. Stretches and exercises can relax your tightened tissues so they put less pressure on your heel bone.
You’ll probably need to make adjustments to your footwear as well. Shoes with cushioned heels that help absorb shock will reduce some of the pressure on the lower limbs. You may need a custom orthotic to add extra padding and support any arch trouble that could be contributing to the problem. If regular conservative methods are not helping, you may need a procedure to clip the spur and deal with the over-tightened tissues.
Extra bone growth in your calcaneus doesn’t have to make your heel pain worse. If it does, you don’t have to live with it. The best way to deal with this condition is to seek care for your discomfort before you develop a chronic issue. Contact Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston to take care of your lower limb conditions now. Fill out our online contact page or call us at (281) 497-2850 to request more information or an appointment.