Getting Bone Spurs to Hit the Trail

Bone spurs can protrude from a bone like a cowboy's spursWe know there are many basketball fans out there who are excited to know the NBA regular season is almost upon us. Our Pacers will first have action on Wednesday (10/26), but there are actually three games the day before, including what should be an exciting matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. When we discuss “bone spur treatment,” though, it is probably quite different than Golden State’s “Spurs treatment” game plan for a team that has dominated the NBA over the past 20 years.

The San Antonio basketball team is named for the spurs found on the back of cowboy boots, but there are also spurs that develop in the human body. These happen when the body makes calcium deposits on existing bone tissue—as a protective measure—and they build up over time.

Now, there are many instances where you might have a bone spur and be unaware of it, but sometimes these spurs cause issues that need to be addressed. When a bone spur causes a problem, you will need treatment so you can enjoy your favorite activities and find relief from painful symptoms.

Bone spur treatment depends on a variety of factors, with the most important being location. A “saddle bone”—a spur that develops on the top of the foot—might not cause the issues a bone spur in the back of the heel does. The reason location is so important is because it determines what other tissues might be affected and what kinds of forces will be applied to the area.

As is always the case, we will attempt to relieve painful bone spur symptoms by changing the environment first. Depending on the location of your bone spur, this might entail a change in footwear or using padding or orthotic devices to offload pressure on the area.

If we cannot change the environment, we will need to change the foot. A procedure called an arthroplasty will remodel the area to restore the normal architecture. The longer the bone adapts, the larger the spur becomes. Even a small spur in the wrong locator can produce extreme symptoms, especially when located between toes. There are significant increases in risk for a dangerous ulcer if the blood supply reduces as we get older.   In this case, we may use an osteotripsy – a procedure where we scrape away the excess buildup. The procedure is not particularly complex and we only need to make a small incision roughly the size of a capital “L” in 12-point font.

If a heel spur is causing problems for you, don’t let it go untreated. Instead, come see us at our Indianapolis office. We will take care of it and other potential causes of your pain. Give us a call at (317) 545-0505 or request your appointment with us online right now.

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