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Heel spurs

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What are they?

Heel spurs are bony calcium deposits under the heel bone (calcaneus). They are confirmed via x-ray and are often found incidentally (if you have an x-ray for something else such as an ankle fracture and the heel spur is spotted then). They often cause no pains or problems.

It was thought that heel spurs cause plantar fasciitis or plantar heel pain however, this may not be the case at all and certainly we have treated many patients with heel pain in clinic who had heel spurs, but the pain got better without anything being done to remove or reduce the size of the spur.

Despite their sharp looking appearance, it is thought that only 5% of patients with heel spurs have any foot pain.

If a heel spur is causing pain you may experience this under the heel, but there are lots of other things that cause pain in this area too.

How can I help myself?

Often rest (or reducing your activity levels), ICE and anti-inflammatory medication may be helpful. You should also wear cushioned or thicker sole shoes such as running trainers which may help to ease the pain in your heel.

When to see a Podiatrist?

If you have heel pain you should seek the advice of an expert podiatrist to diagnose this properly. They will take a thorough history to decide what the cause of your pain is and offer conservative management options including, but not limited to: exercise therapy, strapping, padding, foot orthoses or insoles, shockwave therapy and steroid injections if appropriate.

If they are concerned that you may have a bony spur then they will require imaging (x-ray) and if necessary, could consult a surgeon’s opinion on the best management methods.

If you book an appointment, it is wise to take the shoes you wear day to day or any sports or exercise specific footwear your have to help the Podiatrist with their assessment.

Heel spur