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heel spursHeel spurs are osteophytes, or bone spurs, that form in the heel. They usually develop at the point where two bones join together. Not everyone with these bony growths will experience pain, and they might not be detected unless a podiatrist takes x-rays to check for a different problem. But if you do suffer from foot pain while walking around Chicago, you can turn to a podiatrist for the answers to your questions.

How do heel spurs develop?

It can take months for these bony growths to form. The process begins when calcium deposits start to accumulate on the heel bone. This may happen on its own, without an underlying health problem, but podiatrists will often find that the patient has other injuries. Repetitive stress injuries of the tendons, such as stress from repetitive sports activities, can trigger bone spur development. Some people develop heel spurs because of inflammatory diseases. These include ankylosing spondylitis and arthritis. Osteoarthritis, in particular, is a common culprit. Osteoarthritis results in the deterioration of the cushioning cartilage in the joints. The heel spur is a response by the body to try to heal the damage.

What does plantar fasciitis have to do with heel spurs?

Plantar fasciitis causes stabbing heel pain because of inflamed plantar fascia tissue. Heel spurs do not cause plantar fasciitis, but many patients with plantar fascia pain also have bone spurs. Additionally, these two podiatric problems can have similar symptoms.

What symptoms can bone spurs cause?

If the bony growth in your heel does cause noticeable symptoms, you might have some pain and tenderness in that area of your foot. The discomfort may worsen when you stand, walk, and jog. It may be too painful for you to walk around barefoot, especially on hard floors.

How can I get rid of my bone spurs?

In years past, surgery was often recommended to remove troublesome bone spurs. These days, podiatrists know that nonsurgical treatments are almost always effective, and far less traumatic. You can relieve your pain and help the area heal by resting your heel on ice packs for 20 minutes at a time, taking anti-inflammatory medications, and working with a physical therapist. Your foot doctor might recommend anti-inflammatory injections and custom orthotics.

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