What Is a Heel Spur?

By Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC/Ringwood/Flushing
August 15, 2018
Category: heel pain

A heel spur is a small, bony protrusion that extends from the back of the heel bone. It is formed over many months from calcium deposits and is often found in conjunction with another condition called plantar fasciitis.

These types of conditions are caused by excess stress and strain to the tendons and ligaments of the feet and ankles. Athletes who do a lot of running and jumping with quick starts and stops, such as from playing tennis or basketball, often experience this condition. Even though the heel spur itself may not always be painful, a large spur can extend out a half an inch or more, making footwear painful or impossible to use.

Risk factors for developing heel spurs include:

  • Improperly fitting footwear—The correct arch support for your foot type is essential to avoiding the tendon and ligament stress and damage that can lead to the growth of heel spurs. Your feet should be properly measured when shopping for new footwear and any gait abnormalities need to be addressed to avoid putting excessive pressure on the heel.

  • Excess weight—As you get older and possibly gain some extra weight, the flexibility of the tendons and ligaments in the feet lessens and the protective layer of fat on the heel decreases, increasing the chance that heel spurs will occur.

Treatment for heel spurs

Small heel spurs will respond well to conservative measures including modified and correctly-fitted shoes with extra cushioning in the heel area. Physical therapy will help to increase strength and relax the inflamed tissue. Custom-fitted orthotic inserts for stabilization and additional cushioning are also helpful.

If you are suffering from the pain of a heel spur, consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!

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