A heel spur is a calcification that occurs in or near the heel, resulting in a hard, bony projection that can press on the surrounding soft tissues and cause considerable pain. Most heel spurs occur along the bottom of the heel. Heel spurs are a common cause of plantar fasciitis, a painful condition that becomes more common with age. Plantar fasciitis caused by heel spurs develops when the spur presses into the supportive band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that stretches across the bottom of the foot, resulting in inflammation and irritation.
Heel spurs develop when excess calcium builds up along the edge of the heel bone, often as a result of stress on the ligaments and other tissues that support the heel. Although heel spurs can develop in anyone, they're more common among:
Wearing ill-fitting shoes can also contribute to the development of heel spurs as well as exacerbating symptoms.
In many cases, heel spur symptoms can be treated and relieved with custom orthotics designed to support the arch and relieve pain and pressure in the heel area. Injections of corticosteroids can also help by reducing pain and inflammation to promote healing of surrounding soft tissues. Physical therapy including gentle stretching exercises or use of special splints can be very helpful in relieving symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis and in improving overall flexibility in the foot and heel so stress is reduced. In more extreme cases when these conservative approaches fail to provide relief, surgery may be used to remove heel spurs. Surgery is performed using very small incisions placed over the spur to minimize tissue trauma and speed healing.
At The Center for Foot Disorders, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
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