What are Heel Spurs?

Find out if heel spurs could be the reason for your heel pain.

Did you know that the heel bone is the largest bone in the foot? Because of this, it takes a lot more abuse and shock than other parts of the foot, which can lead to some pretty unpleasant problems. If you are dealing with heel pain, find out if a heel spur could be to blame and how your Six Corners, Chicago podiatrists can give you the relief you need.

What is a heel spur?

A heel spur is an abnormal growth that gradually forms on the heel bone. As the plantar fascia (a thick band of tissue that runs underneath the foot from the heel to the toes) pulls away from the heel, a calcium deposit forms and in turn causes this hard protrusion.

What are the symptoms of a heel spur?

One of the most common and classic symptoms of heel spurs is severe pain in the back of the foot that is exacerbated by walking or standing.

What causes a heel spur to form?

So what causes the plantar fascia to pull away from the heel in the first place? Flat feet are typically the reason that the fascia tissue begins to stretch. But this doesn’t mean that those with high arches also can’t develop heel spurs.

Women are also more likely than men to develop heel spurs because of wearing certain shoes like heels on a regular basis that cause issues for the plantar fascia.

What are my treatment options?

Your Chicago, IL foot doctor will first need to determine the root cause of your heel spur in order to give you the best and most effective treatment. If the problem is due to flat feet (also referred to as overpronation) then we may recommend orthotics, or shoe inserts. These orthotics are custom-made to offer your foot support and to absorb shock to help reduce flat feet and to facilitate healing.

Here are some of the other common ways to treat heel spurs:

  • Performing certain stretching exercises during the day to help soften and increase the flexibility of the plantar fascia ligament.
  • Losing Weight. Being overweight can also put serious undue pressure on your feet. If this is the case it’s highly recommended that patients who are obese or overweight adopt healthier habits to help them lose weight.
  • Choosing proper footwear that offers more support and stability for the heel and the arches while also offering shock absorption.
  • Consider bracing or wearing heel cups to provide additional cushioning to the heel to reduce shock from day-to-day activities.

For those patients who don’t find the relief they need, your foot doctor in Six Corners, Chicago may recommend Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Treatment (EPAT) to safely and non-invasively speed up the healing process to reduce chronic forms of pain. EPAT can be great for treating heel spurs, as well as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. Call Affiliated Podiatrists today and nix heel pain.

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