Heel spurs are a common source of pain and aching in the heel and in the middle of the sole. Fortunately, Achilles Foot Care in Delmont and Monroeville, Pennsylvania, offers several options for treating heel spurs and relieving the symptoms they cause. As an experienced podiatrist, Dr. Patrick D. Roberto helps you eliminate the painful symptoms associated with heel spurs, offering conservative options and, when needed, surgery to provide long-term symptom relief.
A heel spur is a hard growth of bony material, or bone spur, that develops along the edge of the heel bone. Most heel spurs angle toward the front of the foot. While very small bone spurs can cause few symptoms, larger bone spurs tend to press into the softer tissues that surround them, causing significant pain, especially when you put pressure or weight on your foot.
Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis, a condition that’s more common among athletes, older people, and people who are overweight. The plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue that extends from the heel to the base of the toes and helps support the arch. Heel spurs can press into your plantar fascia, causing irritation and pain.
Heel spurs form when excess calcium is deposited on the heel bone, forming a hard mass. Usually, the deposits form as a result of repetitive pressure on the heel and strain and irritation of the ligaments and tendons that surround your heel. Over time, the increased pressure causes the membrane that covers your heel to begin to wear away, leaving the bone more exposed to calcium deposits and bone spurs.
Heel spurs are more common among people who:
Heel spurs also tend to be more common in people with certain foot shapes or certain gait patterns.
Dr. Roberto may be able to treat your heel spurs with conservative measures, including over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and ice packs to reduce pain and inflammation. Gentle stretching exercises may also help. You may benefit from a technique called extracorporeal shockwave therapy, which is designed to promote natural healing and circulation in the injured area.
Custom orthotics can be very helpful in relieving the symptoms from heel spurs that cause more substantial pain. Orthotics help relieve pressure and friction on the injured part of the heel with special cushioning, and they also provide greater support for the midsection of the foot so the plantar fascia isn’t overstressed.
When all conservative treatment options fail to provide long-term relief, Dr. Roberto may perform surgery to remove the heel spur from the bone.