When people come into our office complaining about heel pain, they often ask about heel spurs. These hard, bony deposits are a frequent side effect of chronic plantar fasciitis, which is the most common cause of heel pain in American adults. Although not always painful on their own, they can cause discomfort depending on their size and location.
A heel spur is a deposit of calcium that builds up on the underside of the heel bone, toward the front. This process occurs gradually, usually over the course of several months.
Spurs typically form in response to chronic, untreated plantar fasciitis, or other chronic soft tissue injuries and stress near the heel bone. For a variety of reasons—shoes, abnormal foot structure, overuse, etc.—the fibrous plantar fascia tissue may stretch and tear, pulling away from the heel. At the same time, the membrane covering the heel bone may also tear. This creates the opportunity for calcium to deposit on the heel bone, gradually forming a spike-like bony enlargement that may reach a half and inch long or more.
Not necessarily, or even usually. Most of the time a heel spur will not cause any discomfort on its own. A heel spur, of course, may be present in someone with heel pain, but usually the soft tissue injury is the real source of the discomfort. Once the soft tissue injury, usually plantar fasciitis, heals, the spur itself will not cause any more trouble. In fact, quite frequently people don’t discover they even have a heel spur in the first place until they need an X-ray for an unrelated reason!
However, in a minority of cases—maybe 1 in 20—the spur continues to cause pain even after everything else has healed. This could be due to the spur pressing uncomfortably against more sensitive tissues, particularly when bearing weight. As with any other foot or ankle concern, if heel spurs are causing pain, they should be treated by a professional.
If you have a heel spur in addition to a painful soft tissue injury like plantar fasciitis, treatment will follow the normal course for the primary condition. In about 90 percent of cases or more, this resolves the problem within several weeks to several months, using only conservative therapies like rest, ice, stretching, and/or orthotics.
Heel spurs do not usually need to be removed surgically, particularly if they are not causing any pain. However, for those that do, we may perform a procedure to either release the plantar fascia and/or excise the spur itself. The post-surgery prognosis is usually quite good, although potential complications such as nerve pain, scarring, or infection are always possible. You’ll need to carefully follow your surgeon’s instructions for post-operative care to give yourself the best odds of a speedy and full recovery.
You do not have to live with the discomfort of heel pain. The doctors at Dallas Podiatry Works: Drs. Joel Brook, Arroyo, McClurkin and Tran, can obtain proper diagnosis and offer treatment that will eliminate your pain. Contact us in Dallas, TX at (972) 566-7474 or in Plano, TX at (972) 943-3323 for an appointment today.
The doctor has great “bedside manners” when talking to patients. Great staff and comfortable atmosphere.
The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of foot care.
I would highly recommend Dr. Brook to anyone with foot problems–especially problems that stump other podiatrists. He really is very caring and very knowledgeable.
Dr. Joel Brook and the staff were nice and helpful. Though I was a new patient, I got right in as soon as they were open in my preferred location. They diagnosed the problem and provided medicines along with a perfect gel bandage so I could keep exercising while my toes healed. My toes already hurt less and look a little better each day. If I have future issues, I will be a repeat customer. Here’s hoping I don’t, but at least I know my feet are in good hands.
I visited this office for an ingrown toe nail a few years ago. After seeing another doctor, who made it worse, he referred me to Dallas Podiatry Works. The doctor there was able to fix my problem. I’m not great with reviews, all I can tell you is that this doctor and staff will have you up and running or doing whatever it is you do in no time. You will be in great hands. You’d be a fool not to use this doctor. Now its time to visit him again for the other toe.
Been having bad ankle pains for 6 months was referred here and it was a great visit ladies in the front desk medical assistants and the Doctor were all very friendly and make you feel very comfortable.