On the outside of a riding boot, a spur is a small, extended metal tool that helps guide a horse to speed up, slow down, or move side to side. There’s another type of spur, though, commonly associated with the feet: a heel spur, also known as a calcaneal spur. This spur is different. It is a bony growth that forms inside your feet, protruding forward from the bottom of your heel bone, and can form in response to repetitive stress and injury. This is when an experienced and professional Massapequa heel spur doctor comes in handy.
But before we discuss the best treatment for heel spurs, let's find out what they are, to begin with.
How Spurs Form
So what exactly are heel spurs, and how do they form?
Let’s start with the plantar fascia, a fibrous band of tissue that connects to the underside of your heel bone and supports your arch. The plantar fascia is designed to absorb shocks from walking and running, but it can get pulled, stretched, swollen, and even torn due to repetitive stress—this is known as plantar fasciitis.
When that happens, deposits of calcium build up on the underside of the heel bone, facing forward. Over time, this bony protrusion can reach up to half an inch in length and will require treatment from an experienced Massapequa heel spur doctor.
Certain conditions or activities can increase your risk of plantar fasciitis, and thus, heel spurs. Frequent bursts of athletic activity (especially if running, jumping, and/or hard surfaces are involved), poor choices of footwear, and mechanical issues such as flat feet or overpronation are a few common risk factors.
Are Heel Spurs Causing My Foot Pain?
Possibly, although heel spurs themselves are usually not the only contributing factor causing pain. Instead, it’s the plantar fasciitis—the soft tissue tearing and swelling—that’s usually the biggest factor. In fact, many people live with heel spurs for years and never even realize it until they get an X-ray of the area for a different problem.
However, there may be some cases where a particularly large or inconveniently placed heel spur can cause additional discomfort and swelling by pressing on surrounding soft tissues when you stand and walk. You may feel a sharp pain when getting up from bed or rest, which may recede into a dull ache. When this occurs, it's important to visit a skilled Massapequa heel spur doctor.
Best Treatment for Heel Spurs
Conservative treatments are generally selected first when dealing with heel pain, whether or not heel spurs are present.
Typical simple strategies and tools that may be considered include:
- Rest, icing, or OTC medications for pain management and inflammation control
- Modifying behaviors (for example, do less hard running and mix in some low-impact exercise instead)
- Make sure you have the right pair of shoes for your activity
- Stretching exercises and physical therapy
- Splints to wear at night that keep your plantar fascia in a stretched position
- Shoe inserts or custom orthotics to add support or accommodate structural problems of the foot and ankle
Our Massapequa heel spur team of doctors provide more advanced remedies as alternatives to surgery that might be chosen if simple strategies prove insufficient. This includes shockwave therapy, platelet-rich plasma therapy, laser therapy, and amniotic tissue treatments.
In the vast majority of cases, a combination of the above strategies, tools, or therapies will provide lasting relief by healing the associated soft tissue damage. However, if chronic pain continues to persist, surgical treatment for the painful plantar fascia and/or remove the bone spur remains as a last resort.
Contact Our Experienced Massapequa Heel Spur Doctor
If you have persistent pain in your heels, the best thing you can do is make a call to our Massapequa heel spur doctors. Our Long Island office and staff are specially equipped and trained to handle a wide variety of heel pain conditions, including spurs. You can fill out our online contact form and have a member of our staff contact you for follow-up, or you can give us a call at 516-541-9000.