You can’t wait to get off of your feet at night…but each time you get into bed, you dread putting your feet on the floor in the morning. It’s not that you’re exhausted; you just can’t stand the pain in your heel, and it’s always at its worst right when you wake up. The only relief from the pain comes at the end of the day, but you are hardly relieved when you know you have to start the cycle all over again. Is there anything you can do that will help you walk—not hobble—out of bed each day?
Common Causes and Symptoms of Bone Spurs
A chronic pain in the heel could be caused by a bone spur, the common name for a calcium deposit that builds up along existing bones to form a “bump.” Bone spurs can occur anywhere on the body, and they do not always cause pain; however, bone spurs in the feet are more likely to be painful because the weight of the person’s body causes the spur to burrow into or rub against the soft tissues of the feet.
A bone spur may develop on the underside of the heel bone (also called a heel spur), causing extreme pain that increases with the first steps of the day. Patients may be at increased risk for heel spurs if they have:
- Plantar Fasciitis. Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis often go hand-in-hand. If the long ligament on the bottom of the foot (plantar fascia) is overstretched, it may pull on the heel bone, causing calcium to build up as the heel repairs itself. A spur may form on the underside of the heel through the repeated process of mending and tearing.
- Health Problems. People who are overweight or suffer from diabetes are more likely to develop bone spurs, as they may have gait abnormalities that over-stress the bones and ligaments in their feet.
- Increased Activity. A sudden increase in physical activity can aggravate the plantar fascia, leading to calcium deposits on the heel bone. This is especially likely if people jog or walk on hard surfaces, perform sudden bursts of running or jumping, or wear shoes that do not provide proper cushioning.
- Tight Shoes. Some bone spurs will develop on the back of the heel instead of the bottom. These spurs are often called “pump bumps” because they are often seen in women who wear high heels, but are also the result of wearing shoes that are too tight or spending all day on your feet in ill-fitting shoes.
Will I Need Surgery for a Bone Spur?
Many podiatrists will attempt non-surgical interventions to treat bone spurs before resorting to surgery. There are many conservative treatments that can stop the stretching, tearing, and rubbing of the spur against the soft tissues in the heel, such as stretching and physical therapy. If conservative treatments are unsuccessful, patients may need surgery to remove the spur or release the tension on the plantar fascia.
At Sierra Foot & Ankle, we can examine your feet and your shoes to determine if their interaction is aggravating your condition, and can create custom orthotic inserts to accommodate flat feet or high arches. Call us at 888-608-8406 or fill out our quick appointment request form to see if we can see you in our Carson City or Gardnerville office today!
Photo Credit: zirconicusso via FreeDigitalPhotos.net