By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
May 31, 2016

What is Heel Spur Syndrome?

Heel Spur Syndrome is another name for Plantar Fasciitis where patients experience sometimes severe pain in the heel and arch of the foot. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, heel pain is one of the more common reason patients seek help. Heel spurs are small calcified deposits (like a fingernail) that form on the bottom of the heel bone. These spurs, however, are rarely the cause of the pain. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that one in 10 people have heel spurs but that only about 5% of them experience heel pain. For patients experiencing heel pain, the real cause is often the inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia—a strong band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot and runs from the heel to the front of your foot.

Identifying Plantar Fasciitis

There are other potential causes of heel pain (including tendonitis, arthritis or a stress fracture) so the first job of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Dr. Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M, will be able to correctly diagnose plantar fasciitis. A complete medical history and a thorough examination of your foot and heel will be done and diagnostic imaging studies including x-rays may be ordered.

As a patient, if you have heel spur syndrome, you are probably in a good deal of pain that can even prevent you from walking very far. A characteristic sign of this disorder is pain in the heel and the arch that is especially bad when you first wake up in the morning.

Getting Relief

There are a number of treatments for heel spur syndrome aimed at both short term comfort and long term protection of this area of the foot. These may include:

  • Icing the affected area

  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

  • Cortiscosteroid injections

  • Choosing shoes with better arch support or using custom orthotics to properly position the foot and relieve pressure on the plantar fascia

  • Night splinting to keep the plantar fascia stretched overnight

  • Taping or strapping the foot

  • Physical therapy

In some cases where the above therapies are not effective, your foot doctor may recommend surgery which might include removing the heel spurs. As with all foot and ankle conditions, it’s best to get the pain evaluated sooner rather than later. If your heel is hurting, contact our Reading office for an appointment.

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New England & Ankle Specialists

(781) 944-4044
30 New Crossing Road Suite 311 Reading, MA 01876