Although probably best known for their dramatic role in old Westerns, spurs are everywhere. A tree can grow a knobby spur on its trunk. You can discover jutting spurs on rocks. You can even develop a spur on a bone in your body. A bone spur isn’t as unusual as you might think. They don’t always cause problems, but, in some cases, a spur on your foot can lead to pain.
Why Bones Grow Spurs
A bone spur is a hard projection of extra tissue that develops along the edge of a bone. This can be under a tendon or ligament, or in a joint. Stress and irritation are the two main causes of bone spurs. Tension and strain from a tight or overworked tendon or ligament aggravates the hard tissue. Friction and stress from arthritis between joints does so as well. As the pressure and aggravation on your bones continues over a period of time, your body responds by thickening that area. This eventually creates a projection of hard tissue.
The Issue with Foot Spurs
Many spurs don’t cause any symptoms or problems at all. You might not even realize you have one, unless it’s found on an X-ray while checking something else. In some cases, though, the bony bump can add to and worsen foot pain.
The most common places these extra growths develop is under the heel, on the back of the foot, or in between arthritic joints. Underneath your heel, they’re usually associated with chronic plantar fasciitis. The constant pulling and tightening of your plantar fascia band stresses your calcaneus, or heel bone. Over time, the strain causes a bony projection. As the hard lump rubs or presses against the ligament, it makes the problem worse and adds to your heel pain.
A bone spur on the back of your foot is usually from shoe or Achilles pressure. It’s particularly likely to be bothered by pressure from shoes, making if uncomfortable to wear certain pairs. You might be more prone to inflammation and pain in your Achilles or heel bursa as well. Arthritis in your toe joints can cause a bump to develop that actually impairs movement. Occasionally you might notice a visible lump near a joint. In general, though, you’ll find it very painful and difficult to move that part of your foot.
What to Do about Bone Spur Pain
Reducing the stress on your foot that created the spur growth is the best way to deal with the problem and prevent it from getting worse. Dr. Brandon S. Percival, Dr. Julie A. Percival, and Dr. William Harris will carefully examine your foot to determine how the protrusion is affecting you. Then our team can help you begin a treatment plan to alleviate your discomfort and the pressure on the hard bump.
Most likely you will need to make shoe changes. Select shoes that have plenty of cushioning through the sole and have appropriate support for your arch. Make sure the fabric won’t rub against any hard protrusions. You might need orthotics to correct biomechanical issues that strain your feet, or add extra cushioning to protect the bone spur. Physical therapy can help you stretch over-tight connectors and maintain range of motion in arthritic joints. We might recommend anti-inflammatory medication as well. Only rarely will a spur need to be removed surgically.