What Causes Heel Spurs?

Heel Spurs Jackson, WY

Heel Spurs are needle-like outgrowths that form on the underside of the heel bone. They form when calcium begins to accumulate on the surface of the heel bone. In a matter of months, the calcium formation grows into a sharp, protruding bone spur that can cause injury and inflammation to the soft tissue that surrounds the heel bone.

Most people do not experience any type of discomfort from their heel spurs. Some do. There are also people who have all the symptoms of heel spurs despite having no visible spurs on their heel bones. So, what would cause your heel bone to grow a spur that could potentially torment you?

How heel spurs form

Heel spurs form slowly, over the course of many months. They happen as a result of continued stress and strain on the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments) of the leg and foot. The strain stretches out the padding that surrounds the heel bone, making it thinner. This exposes the heel bone to more impact than is healthy or necessary.

As the heel bone absorbs continued stress as a person walks, runs or stands for long periods of time, it tries to ‘recover.’ Calcium compounds start to accumulate at the heel bone’s stress point. Over a couple of months, the calcium deposits grow into a bony outgrowth. The outgrowth usually takes the form of a spur, much like the kind you would find on a chicken leg.

Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis

So, what kind of stress and continual impact can cause the heel bone to develop a spur? It bears mentioning that long-term strain of the soft tissues of the foot is often at the root of heel spurs.

One particular soft tissue that bears the brunt of this strain is the plantar fascia, the thick ligament that connects the heel to the toes. When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, it can progress to become a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This foot condition increases the likelihood of heel spurs. There are also other risk factors for heel spurs.

Who is more likely to develop heel spurs?

Continual impact and stress are often the root causes of heel spurs, meaning that any situation that lends itself to stress injuries of the leg and foot can put a person at risk of developing heel spurs. For example:

  • High-impact exercise regimens that involve running and jumping, meaning that athletes and joggers are at a higher risk
  • People who spend large portions of their days on their feet
  • People who are overweight
  • People who wear uncomfortable, ill-fitting shoes that offer little stability or support
  • People with an abnormal gait that puts excessive and uneven stress on the feet
  • Older people lose some of the paddings that cover the heel. This exposes the heel bone to more impact-related stress, which can trigger heel spurs
  • People with flat feet or high arches

There are some medical conditions that can also put a person at risk of developing heel spurs. Chronic conditions like gout, arthritis and diabetes are risk factors for this condition.

Let our podiatrist help with your heel pain

Heel pain does not have to become your new normal. With the right diagnosis and a well-thought-out treatment plan, you can resume a life that is free from the limitations that come with foot pain. Get in touch with us to book an appointment with our podiatrist today. They will work with you to get the spring back into your step.

Request an appointment here: https://www.tetonpodiatry.com or call Ambulatory Foot & Ankle Clinic at (307) 414-1064 for an appointment in our Jackson office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

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