Learning More About Podiatrist Care

Heel Spurs: Do You Have Them In Your Feet?

If you suffer from severe pain in one of your heels, you may think you damaged the tendons or muscles in your foot or ankle. You may actually have heel spurs in your foot. Heel spurs can be difficult to detect and treat without a podiatrist's help.

Learn more about heel spurs and how a podiatrist can diagnose and treat you below.

How Do You Get Heel Spurs?

Your heel bone sits in the back of your foot and just under the ankle bone. As the largest bone in the foot, the heel bone can become susceptible to injury, infection, and other issues over time, including heel spurs. Although heel spurs are tiny, they can cause tremendous pain in your foot.

Heel spurs are hard pieces of calcium that grow between the heel bone and the arch of the foot. The hook-like growths generally don't cause pain or discomfort in the foot. However, the growths can grow large enough to cause pain for some individuals.

Anything that causes friction or places unnecessary stress on the heel bone can lead to heel spurs, including arthritis and inflammation of the tendons. Wearing unsupported shoes may also lead to heel spurs. 

You can't diagnose heel spurs on your own. In most cases, only a podiatrist can determine whether or not you have heel spurs in your foot. 

How Can a Podiatrist Treat Heel Spurs?

A podiatrist will most likely examine your foot with X-rays before they diagnose you with heel spurs. Heel spurs can hide deep within the muscles and tendons. However, heel spurs can show up as lightly-colored protrusions in X-rays. The protrusions often look like tiny fish hooks in the images.

If you do have heel spurs growing between your heel and arch, a podiatrist will do several things for you, including:

  • treat the pain and inflammation in your foot with cortisone injections
  • prescribe you pain medications to control the pain and inflammation in your foot
  • custom-fit your heel and foot with an orthotic

An orthotic is a special insert you place inside your shoe to cushion, protect, and support your heel bone. The insert looks similar to a donut and fits in the back of the shoe. You must wear the orthotic in your shoe every day to find the best relief from your pain. A podiatrist may need to adjust the insert regularly to ensure it works properly.

If you need treatment for your heel pain, contact a podiatrist for care today.