People who love horses or western movies undoubtedly know what spurs are. Basketball fans, sadly, have a little misguided view of the subject. But, did you know that your body can generate spurs also? Heel spurs are a common problem people face, and sometimes you may not even know it’s happening. Saddle up, partners, today we’re going to talk about heel spurs and maybe explain that pain in your heel you’ve had for years.
First of all, we need to understand what a heel spur or bone spur is. A bone spur is a protrusion that grows off the outer edge of a bone, like a little thorn that grows slowly over time. Bone spurs often occur in jointed regions and frequently are found in the hips, spine, knees, and feet. Most people at one point or another have been poked by a plant thorn. Here in Pueblo, we have those sharp little barbed nightmares known colloquially as ‘Goat Heads’ that many of us are unlucky enough to find with our unsuspecting feet. Strangely enough, heel spurs can often go unnoticed for years.
How can that be? How can you have a thorny protrusion on your bone and not even know it? Many times we can go years without knowing we have a bone spur until we get an x-ray. Sadly though, bone spurs can also be very painful. Spurs can cause a sharp stabbing pain in the heel when you walk or lead to inflammation of the area around the protrusion. Spurs in joints can cause joint damage over time, cause inflammation, or in some cases reduce mobility entirely. Researchers have posited that people with arthritis are more at risk than others for developing bone spurs.
So, you walk around, and your heel burns and hurts. How can you know that it is a spur? As mentioned above, bone spurs and specifically heel spurs are nearly impossible to discern without proper medical imaging. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs all penetrate the skin and can show doctors the contour of your heel bone revealing any unusual protrusions.
What can be done with the heel spur then? For most people who are asymptomatic and experience no pain, nothing really needs to be done. For those with painful, inflamed heels, however, there are some things you can do to help the situation. Icing the affected region is a great way to help reduce the pain. Physical therapy can also help greatly reduce the annoyance of heel spurs. Pueblo Ankle and Foot Care recommend customized orthotics for everyone experiencing pain in the feet, and these are a great way to put pressure on the right parts of your foot and reduce that heel pain too. Come in today and let one of our doctors take care of your foot pain today.