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Heel Spurs Specialist

Birch Tree Foot and Ankle -  - Foot and Ankle Specialist

Birch Tree Foot and Ankle

Foot and Ankle Specialist located in Traverse City, MI

Researchers estimate that 1 in 10 Americans have heel spurs. These small bony growths develop slowly over time and often result in foot pain. At Birch Tree Foot and Ankle, fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon Jeffrey Weber, DPM, works with athletes and physically active individuals to diagnose and treat heel spurs. To make an appointment at the practice in Traverse City and Manistee, Michigan, call the office or click the online booking tool today.

Heel Spurs Q&A

What are heel spurs?

Heel spurs are small calcium deposits that form at the base of your foot between the heel bone and arch. They form due to repetitive strain and grow up to half an inch in length. 

In some cases, heel spurs cause a dull, throbbing pain that affects mobility. Other times, they present no symptoms. Some people even go years without realizing there’s a problem.

What are the symptoms of heel spurs?

Common symptoms of heel spurs include:

  • Heel pain
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Skin that’s warm to the touch
  • Pain that spreads into the arch of the foot

As the spurs grow, you might also experience increased sensitivity when you stand up or while walking. 

What causes heel spurs?

Heel spurs often occur due to long-term wear-and-tear affecting the muscles and ligaments in your feet. Activities like running, jumping, or walking on hard surfaces put stress on your heel bone, triggering the formation of spurs.

Other factors that increase the risk of heel spurs include:

  • Arthritis
  • Bruising of the heel
  • Excess body weight
  • Uncomfortable shoes
  • Gait issues

You might also experience heel spurs due to plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia — a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes.

How are heel spurs diagnosed?

To diagnose heel spurs, Dr. Weber physically examines your feet, heels, and ankles, and asks about your symptoms, including when they started, their severity, and if any activities make them worse.

 If Dr. Weber is unable to detect signs of redness or inflammation, he orders X-rays or an MRI. These imaging procedures capture photos of the soft and hard tissues that make up your foot.

How are heel spurs treated?

Treatment of heel spurs depends on the severity of your symptoms and their underlying cause. Usually, Dr. Weber recommends conservative treatments like ice, rest, over-the-counter pain medication, and corticosteroid injections. You might also benefit from physical therapy or custom orthotics.

If these measures don’t relieve your symptoms, surgical intervention may be necessary. During surgery for heel spurs, Dr. Weber uses special tools to remove the bony growths around the heel. Removing the heel spurs reduces pain and improves your foot’s range of motion.

To learn more about the treatment of heel spurs, make an appointment at Birch Tree Foot and Ankle by calling the office or clicking the online booking tool today.