Spurs are small bits of bone that grow abnormally out of regular bone. They can form when surrounding soft tissues (like ligaments and tendons) and the places where they meet (in your joints) become inflamed.
To illustrate what that means, here are two scenarios in which bone spurs can form in your feet:
- Let’s say you’re a runner. You’re preparing for a big race and really racking up the miles. Your feet are taking a beating, so much so that you’re beginning to have some heel pain. Your plantar fascia – the large ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot – becomes inflamed. Its a great idea to keep the inflammation under control, however. You rest. You perform stretching exercises to keep the plantar fascia from seizing. The inflammation recedes.
Now, repeat above scenario over the course of a year or more. This repeated inflammation of the plantar fascia can stimulate the surrounding heel bone to react by forming spurs.
- In this scenario, consider the senior citizen who’s always been active. Cheer leading in high school; track and field in college; weightlifting, running, and kickboxing classes have always peppered her adult life. She’s put enormous stress on her feet for years and her big toe joint is damaged with wear-and-tear arthritis. As the cushioning cartilage slowly breaks down, the joint tries to repair itself by forming small, new pieces of bone.
Bones spurs in the heel and in the joints of the foot are quite common
Bone spurs may or may not cause a person pain. When you visit the expert podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland complaining of foot pain or difficulty bending, squatting or walking, we will perform a complete examination to find the source. Foot care specialists Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey can detect bone spurs through physical examination and confirm them with x-rays.
Treatment can be conservative using custom orthotics, corticosteroid injections, and prescription anti-inflammatory medications. If pain persists, you may be a candidate for bone spur removal through surgery.