Hi. I want to talk for a few minutes about heel spurs, mainly because I keep getting
patients coming into my office that have been told they have a heel spur and they think
they need surgery for it.
So, before we talk about heel spurs, we have to spend a minute talking about the condition,
plantar fasciitis, which is the most common cause of heel pain in the foot. Now, the plantar
fascia is this thick ligament that runs from here up to your toes. If your foot is flattening
more than it should, as it flattens, it gets longer. And as it gets longer, if you look
at these bottom pictures, that plantar fascia goes from quite loose to quite tight. So,
it tugs back here on the heel and causes pain in that region.
Now, over many years, tugging on that plantar fascia can result in a heel spur. There's
a law of physiology called Wolff's law that says, if you tug on bone for a long enough
period of time, you'll develop a spur here.
So, you have a lot of patients that have heel pain. They go somewhere, maybe an urgent care
clinic, and get an x-ray, and it's seen that they have a heel spur. They're told that the
heel spur causes the pain. But in fact, the spur doesn't cause any pain. The spur is just
a reaction to the bone. What's causing the pain is the tight plantar fascia.
So, if you've been told you have a heel spur and you're told you need surgery for, get
a second, third or fourth opinion. You probably do not need surgery. This problem rarely,
rarely needs surgery.
What we do need to do is to take tension off of the plantar fascia so it is not tugging
so hard on this region. And there are some simple ways to do that. You want to wear good
shoes. So, if you just go to our website and do a search for "shoes," you'll find our list
of recommended shoes. We update it every year. There are athletic shoes, basketball shoes,
hiking boots, sandals and dress shoes; any type of shoe you're looking for.
Number two is, we want to make sure we've got good arch support under the foot to stop
that foot from going down. By doing so, you take tension off the plantar fascia, and then
it doesn't matter if you have a heel spur. You won't have pain down there. So, this is
a good over-the-counter support. If you just go to our website and do a search for, "home
care or self care of heel pain," you'll find our recommendation on the best over-the-counter
arch supports for heel pain and plantar fasciitis. You'll find some for athletic shoes. You'll
find others that are made for dress shoes.
And then if that's not enough, you'd see a podiatrist. There are a lot of ways to treat
heel pain. Again, on the website, we go over that in great detail. I don't want to oversimplify
this right now. But one of the things we may end up doing is making you a custom orthotic
that grabs the arch tighter so it takes more tension off of the plantar fascia. Again,
by stopping that tugging, in most cases, you can eliminate the pain in that region. Or
at least it plays a big role in helping people get over the problem.
Again, I don't want to oversimplify that. There are a lot of different treatments for
plantar fasciitis. But the big one I want to emphasize here is you probably do not need
surgery, even if you do have a heel spur. Heel spurs do not cause pain.
All right, so that is it right now on heel spurs. Like I said, there are a lot more information
on the website. Just search for, "heel pain." And if you like these videos, please subscribe.