What is a Heel Spur?
A heel spur is an often painful bony bump that forms on the bottom of the heels. They are caused by a calcium buildup, often due to overexerting the foot’s ligaments and muscles.
They are especially painful when stepping down on the heel while walking fast or running. Anyone can get a heel spur, but they are often suffered by athletes who run or jump a lot in their sport.
A heel spur can sometimes grow to a half-inch in length, but it’s often several months from the time it begins to form until it will be large enough to become painful.
Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that connects the heel with the ball of the foot. This tissue becomes inflamed, causing your gait, or walking posture, to get off balance, which causes injury to the heel bone.
Who Is At Risk of Getting A Heel Spur?
Heel spurs can afflict you as you begin to age, especially if you walk a lot. But you are in a higher risk category if you run or jog, particularly on hard surfaces.
Wearing ill-fitting shoes, or ones without adequate arch support, will also heighten your risk. Walking barefoot on hard surfaces for long periods of time will also increase the chances of getting this condition.
People who are overweight can develop heel spurs, as the extra weight causes more pressure to be placed on the heels when walking or standing.
How Is a Heel Spur Diagnosed and Treated?
If you think you have a heel spur, your best bet is to see a podiatrist, (or doctor of podiatric medicine), as they can diagnose a heel spur via a physical examination and an X-ray of your feet. The doctor will also observe how you walk and ask about any pain that you feel, especially when walking on hard surfaces.
To help treat a heel spur, your podiatrist may prescribe custom-made shoes and temporary braces, anti-inflammatory and pain medications, or steroid injections.
If these treatments do not bring satisfactory relief, surgery may become necessary. For more information on this disorder, please visit here.
If you are in the Atlanta area, be sure to make an appointment to see a podiatrist at the Atlanta Foot & Leg Specialists. This professional team of podiatrists has over 100 years of combined experience in treating a variety of foot ailments and in proving the best care in podiatric medicine.
The physicians at American Foot & Leg Specialists can treat all foot-and ankle-related problems, such as toenail fungus, in addition to heel spurs. They have four locations in Georgia: Fayetteville, Atlanta, Locust Grove, and Stockbridge and serve patients from all over the metro Atlanta area.