How Heel Spurs Form

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Members of the Parker Running Club are likely happy to be hitting the trails together no longer having to bundle up and brave the cold. Of course, spring running does have its challenges as it can get wet and sloppy out there, but if your heel pain is making it challenging just to get out of bed in the morning, much less join the gang for a run, plantar fasciitis and its sidekick heel spur could very well be to blame.

Heel spurs can make running hard

This classic combo is often seen in runners. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues connecting your toes to your heel, and when overused, it can become inflamed and tug on the heel bone causing pain (plantar fasciitis). Each time you rest for a long while -- like going to sleep at night-- the band relaxes too. However, when you get up and take those initial steps, you suddenly force the band to stretch and holy cow that hurts! The longer this goes on, the more the plantar fascia mercilessly pulls on the heel bone. It’s this constant pulling that causes heel spurs to develop.

A heel spur is basically a calcium deposit that builds up in response to stress or pressure. When the plantar fascia pulls on the heel bone over and over again, the bone attempts to gain strength by growing bigger at the point of irritation. This growth can continue until it forms a pointed, hook-like protrusion known as a heel spur. The bone calcification is not the source of your pain, but can certainly add to the problem.

The good news is that by treating the underlying condition, typically plantar fasciitis, the heel spur itself will be resolved as well. The even better news is that conservative measures are usually all it takes! Rest, ice, stretches, medication, injections, and custom orthotics will all help in getting you back to your running routine. Our MLS Laser is also a great option to reduce discomfort and quicken recovery. For severe cases, there are surgical procedures to release your plantar fascia and remove your heel spur, but this is rarely necessary.

Call us if you need help with heel pain by dialing (303) 805-5156 to make an appointment and wake up ready to go for a run!

Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC
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