Spurs are outgrowths of bone. In the feet, they most commonly occur in the heel, but they can also grow near the toes and on the joint of the big toe. The spurs usually develop in areas subjected to constant pressure. Bone spurs can become problematic when pain and other foot problems crop up as a result of footwear pressing and rubbing against the affected area, causing irritation, redness, swelling, and inflammation. As the bone spur irritates and inflames the surrounding soft tissue, acute pain and/ or a dull ache are experienced.
Heel spurs, or bone spurs in the heel, occur on the bottom of the heel bone as a result of calcium deposits forming over time. They are quite common and often develop in athletes who frequently run and jump, high-impact activities that cause repeated pressure on the area; they are also common in individuals who stand on hard surfaces for long periods of time. People with high foot arches, diabetes, and excess weight can also be prone to heel spurs. Heel spurs can be prevented through stretches and foot exercises, wearing supportive, well-fitted footwear, and properly warming up before impact activities, all of which reduce tension and stress to the area.
Heel spurs can lead to plantar fasciitis, a condition when the plantar fascia, or band of fibrous tissue that connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot, becomes inflamed.
Treatment for heel spurs includes orthotics, supportive and properly fitting footwear, anti-inflammatory medications (ask a doctor before taking any medication), cortisone injections, and surgery if the condition worsens.