Heel Spur and Achilles Heel Spur (Retrocalcaneal Exostosis) (2022)

Heel Spur

Heel spurs bony protrusions that grow at the bottom of the heel, on the sole of the foot. They are also referred to as calcaneal spurs.

A heel spur forms where the plantar fascia (the ligament along the bottom of the foot) —connects to the heel bone. The spur is often hook-shaped and grows in the direction of the plantar fascia.

Achilles Heel Spur (retrocalcaneal exostosis)

Achilles bone spurs occur at the back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon attaches the bone. This painful condition is often related to the chronic tugging of a tight Achilles tendon on the heel bone. The bone spur can destroy the attachment of the Achilles tendon so it is important to seek proper medical attention at the onset of the condition.

This condition typically affects adults, and because of the types of shoe women wear, they are more at risk.

Heel Spur Symptoms and Causes

Heel Spur and Achilles Heel Spur (Retrocalcaneal Exostosis) (1)

Most of the time heel spurs present as pain in the region surrounding the spur, which typically increases in intensity after prolonged periods of rest. Patients may not be able to bear weight on the afflicted heel comfortably. Running, walking, or lifting heavy weight may exacerbate the issue.

(Video) Retro Calcaneal Exostosis

Generally caused by lack of flexibility in the calf muscles and/or excess weight, heel spurs occur when the foot bone is exposed to constant stress and calcium deposit build-up on the bottom of the heel bone. Repeated damage can cause these deposits to pile up on each other, presenting a spur-shaped deformity.

Diagnosing a Heel Spur and Achilles Heel Spur

Diagnosis is made using a few different technologies. X-rays are often used first to ensure there is no fracture or tumor in the region. Then ultrasound is used to check the fascia itself to make sure there is no tear and check the level of scar tissue and damage. Neurosensory testing, a non-painful nerve test, can be used to make sure there is not a local nerve problem if the pain is thought to be nerve-related.

It is important to remember that one can have a very large heel spur and no plantar fasciitis issues or pain at all, or one can have a great deal of pain and virtually no spur at all.

Heel Spurs vs. Plantar Fasciitis, What's the Difference?

Although a heel spur is often thought to be the source of heel pain, it rarely is. When a patient has plantar fasciitis, the plantar fascia pulls on the bottom of the heel bone. Over time this can cause a spur to form. Heel spurs are a very common x-ray finding, and because the heel spur is buried deep in soft tissue and not truly in a weight-bearing area, there is often no history of pain.

It is important to note that less than one percent of all heel pain is due to a spur but frequently caused by the plantar fascia pulling on the heel. Once the plantar fasciitis is properly treated, the heel spur could be a distant memory. Learn more about Plantar Fasciitis here.

Non-Invasive Heel Spur Treatment Options

Initially, treatment usually consists of a combination of home remedies such as ice therapy, stretching exercises to improve flexibility (especially in the mornings), and anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).

Additional treatments include:

  • Custom-molded orthotics to help control the motion in the foot and arch of the foot, which takes the strain off the plantar fascia and reduces the pull on the Achilles tendon.
  • Cortisone injection may be used to calm the severe swelling and pain in the affected area.
  • A night splint to maintain a stretch in the plantar fascia throughout the night and physical therapy may be prescribed.

At the University Foot and Ankle Institute, we will try conservative and non-invasive treatments when a condition is in its early or “acute” phase. With a success rate of over 90%, a slow and steady course of treatment usually is just what the doctor ordered.

(Video) Minimally Invasive Foot Surgery - Retrocalcaneal Heel Spur Talk

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

UFAI patient Barb discusses her heel spurs and how Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy has improved her life.

Though conservative treatments for heel spurs work most of the time, there are some cases where we need to take your treatment to the next level. Luckily, with today’s technologies, you can still often avoid surgery.

Some of the advanced technologies we have to treat a Heel Spur are:

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)

Shockwave Therapy

Topaz for Heal Spurs and Pain

Heel Spur and Retrocalcaneal Exostosis Surgery

Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy is one surgical procedure that we consider to release the tight fascia. University Foot and Ankle Institute has perfected an endoscopic (camera-guided) approach for fascia release to allow rapid healing and limited downtime with minimal pain.

If spur removal is required for Achilles heel spurs, the procedure may be done arthroscopically to limit the incision and trauma to the area. Surgery with an open incision may be needed in severe cases. The key to a good outcome is a solid reattachment of the Achilles tendon and complete removal of scar tissue and bone spurs.

(Video) retrocalcaneal bursitis

Why is University Foot and Ankle Institute the Best Choice for Heel Spur Treatment?

Heel Spur and Achilles Heel Spur (Retrocalcaneal Exostosis) (2)

Awarded Best Podiatrists in Los Angeles by LA Magazine and Best Foot and Ankle Surgeons in California,our physicians have decades of extensive experience treating heel conditions and spur removal related to retrocalcaneal exostosis.

We are pleased to offer multiple locations throughout Greater Los Angeles and Southern California. Our Valencia, Sherman Oaks, Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach, West Los Angeles, and Santa Monica Podiatry locations offer a range of services. These include full radiology, MRI, neurosensory nerve testing, and ultrasound. This means you will rarely have to go from office to office if tests are ordered.

We are also proud to offer state-of-the-art surgical centers and physical therapy services conveniently located within our Valencia and Santa Monica Podiatry offices and close to our other locations. Our advanced services get you back on your feet and back to your life in the least amount of time possible!

Heel Spur and Achilles Heel Spur (Retrocalcaneal Exostosis) (3)

(Video) Retro calcaneal exostosis with Achilles tendonitis

Frequently Asked Questions about Heel Spurs and Heel Spur Surgery

Q: Once a heel spur is removed, will it come back?

A: Yes, a heel spur can “technically” return, but that is really rare.

Q. For heel spurs, I was told that it is caused by the excess calcium deposit. In this case, how can the Topaz procedure remove the excess calcium, because you have mentioned it will only remove the damaged tissue and not the calcium?

A. The heel spur is not the source of pain. The pain is from the scar tissue and damage to the plantar fascia insertion on the heel. We prefer a newer technique called hydrocision from TenJet.

Q: If I have a Heel Spur, does it always need to be removed?

A: No, a Heel Spur does not always have to be surgically removed. If it is causing no physical pain or harm, then there is probably no good reason to remove it since avoiding surgery whenever possible is the smartest way to go.

But if you have symptoms, it also does not mean you need to remove the spur. For example, if the Heel Spur is on the bottom of the heel, it generally does not need to be removed and only a plantar fascia release would be necessary. But If the Heel Spur is on the back of the heel and the patient has Achilles Tendon problems, it very well may need to be removed. Surgical decisions and treatment plans are always made by us based on the individual patient's physical condition and lifestyle.

Have any Heel Spur questions we should add to our FAQs? Let us know by clicking here.

FAQs

What causes calcaneal exostosis? ›

Pain on the back of the heel if often caused by an overgrowth of bone on the back of the heel bone (calcaneus). This is called a retrocalcaneal exostosis. Retrocalcaneal exostosis problems are often related to chronic tugging of a tight Achilles tendon on the back of the heel.

What is the treatment for a Achilles bone spur? ›

Treatment for an Achilles tendinosis with bone spur can be done utilizing the Tenex and Topaz procedure. These two procedures breaking up scar tissue within the tendon and increase healing within the tendon by increasing blood supply to the region and alerting the body to the damage in the Achilles region.

What is Achilles heel spur? ›

Achilles bone spurs occur at the back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon attaches the bone. This painful condition is often related to the chronic tugging of a tight Achilles tendon on the heel bone.

How long does it take to recover from bone spur surgery on your heel? ›

While most patients should expect a heel spur surgery recovery time of a few weeks, it may take up to three months for some patients to make a full recovery following heel bone spur surgery.

What problems do exostosis cause? ›

[1] Although usually asymptomatic and benign, external auditory exostoses (EAE) can cause conductive hearing loss, recurrent otitis externa, otalgia, otorrhea, cerumen impaction, and water trapping.

Is exostosis surgery painful? ›

In some circumstances, patients may develop traumatic ulcers and exposure of bone (known as dehiscence) leading to pain and discomfort. Removal of torus or exostosis is a relatively minor procedure with minimal discomfort.

What happens if a heel spur goes untreated? ›

For some patients, these deposits don't cause any discomfort. For many more, however, heel spurs can result in significant, even debilitating, pain. Left untreated, spurs in the heel can limit your activity significantly, with many patients unable to bear any weight on the affected foot.

Do Achilles bone spurs go away? ›

Heel spurs can't be cured. Healthcare providers recommend non-surgical treatments to ease symptoms associated with heel spurs.

Is walking good for heel spur? ›

Walking is often recommended as a low-impact exercise, but those who are unaccustomed to walking for long periods may easily aggravate a dormant spur. Running. Running places repetitive strain on the toes, ligaments, and bones of the feet, making it likelier for patients to suffer heel spurs. Aerobics.

Can a heel spur damage your Achilles tendon? ›

The bone spur gradually develops around the tendon where it inserts into (attaches to) the bone. The bone spur can irritate the Achilles tendon, potentially causing more tendon damage and pain. In addition, the inflamed and/or damaged portion of the Achilles tendon can calcify, or harden.

What causes an Achilles spur? ›

When your Achilles tendon is put under too much strain, it makes this kind of bone growth more likely – in this case, it grows on the upper part (back) of the heel bone. The constant extra strain pulls on the membrane around your bones (periosteum), resulting in bony growths and deposits known as “heel spurs”.

What is retrocalcaneal spurring? ›

Extra bone formation (exostosis) on the back (retro) of the heel bone (calcaneus) is called a retrocalcaneal exostosis. Some people will also call this a heel spur, different from a spur found on the bottom of the heel. The extra bone develops on the back of the heel bone and within the Achilles tendon.

When is heel spur surgery necessary? ›

In most cases, you'll see an improvement in pain within a few months of beginning nonsurgical treatments. You may be a candidate for surgery if your heel spur is large, or if heel pain doesn't improve or worsens after 12 months of other treatment.

Do they put you to sleep for bone spur surgery? ›

You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on. The surgery will take about 1 to 2 hours.

Does walking make heel spurs worse? ›

Depending on your specific circumstances, walking may help your heel pain, or make it worse. If you experience excruciating pain while walking, try to rest as much as possible until the pain subsides.

Is exostosis cancerous? ›

The inherited condition is called hereditary multiple osteochondromas or hereditary multiple exostoses (an exostosis is an external outgrowth of bone). Multiple osteochondromas are also noncancerous, but they pose a greater chance of complications, usually by interfering with the normal growth of your bones.

Can exostosis be removed? ›

An exostectomy is the surgical removal of a bony prominence / outgrowth (exostosis). The aim of the surgery is to remove the bony prominence and reduce pain and deformity as a result.

Why do I have extra bone growth? ›

Osteochondroma is an overgrowth of cartilage and bone that happens at the end of the bone near the growth plate. Most often, it affects the long bones in the leg, the pelvis, or the shoulder blade. Osteochondroma is the most common noncancerous bone growth. It most often occurs between ages 10 and 30.

How do you get rid of exostosis? ›

The treatment for exostosis will depend on the cause of the growth and the symptoms.
...
Treatments for Exostosis
  1. Apply ice to help with swelling.
  2. Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.
  3. Use shoe inserts for bone spurs in your feet.
  4. Lose weight to put less stress on your joints.
  5. Rest.
20 Apr 2021

How common is exostosis? ›

Hereditary multiple exostoses (HME), also called hereditary multiple osteochondromas (HMO), is a condition that is estimated to affect 1 in 50,000 individuals. Multiple benign or noncancerous bone tumors develop in the affected individuals.

What is an exostosis of the foot? ›

Exostosis is a generic term to describe bony growth from a bone surface. Over the foot, there are two common distinctive diagnoses: osteochondroma and subungual exostosis. Osteochondroma is uncommonly located in the foot.

What type of doctor treats heel spurs? ›

Podiatrists are specialist foot doctors who can provide services such as bunion surgery and heel spur treatment. Talk to your podiatrist about treatment options if you suffer from heel spurs or bunions.

How long after heel spur surgery Can you walk? ›

It generally takes a minimum of three weeks before the patient is able to walk normally, with minimal discomfort. The patient should return to wearing their orthotics as soon as they are comfortable to wear in their shoes.

What is the fastest way to heal a heel spur? ›

Heel spur treatments
  1. Ice packs after walking and exercise.
  2. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin.
  3. Injections of anti-inflammatory medications such as cortisone.
  4. Stretching exercises, especially before bed.
  5. Physical therapy.
  6. Resting your feet.

Can a heel spur burst? ›

#6: Can Heel Spurs Break Through the Skin? MYTH. While the sharp, piercing pain from a heel spur can, indeed, feel as though the tiny protrusion is trying to break through the skin, heel spurs cannot break through the skin.

What foods cause heel spurs? ›

Diet for Heel spurs
  • Red meats, pork and bacon.
  • Dairy products.
  • Processed foods, especially those containing refined sugar and white flour.
  • Caffeine.
  • Vegetables from the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers)

Do heel spurs keep growing? ›

Heel spurs are calcium deposits that develop on the underside of your heel bone. They form slowly with repeated stress on the heel, often growing over a period of several months. Heel spurs range in size and shape, but they can grow to be nearly half an inch long.

Are cortisone shots good for heel spurs? ›

For individuals with chronic pain from heel spurs, corticosteroid injections are a good option. Cortisone is produced naturally in the body as response to stress. A synthetic version of the hormone may be injected into the side of the heel in order to reduce inflammation.

Does massage help heel spurs? ›

Massaging works for heel spurs because it can help loosen up the plantar fascia if you're dealing with heel spurs due to plantar fasciitis and can improve circulation to get the blood flowing again.

How do they do heel spur surgery? ›

Heel spur surgery can be performed as either open surgery (involving a scalpel and large incision) or endoscopic surgery (using "keyhole" incisions with a narrow scope and operating tools). Open surgery is better able to remove the entire spur.

How do Podiatrists treat heel spurs? ›

Heel spurs may be removed via minimally invasive surgery using an endoscope, which requires only a tiny incision. During the surgery, the doctor shaves down the heel spur and may also repair the plantar fascia to help prevent future pain. The entire procedure is quick and is performed in an outpatient setting.

How painful is Achilles tendon surgery? ›

Achilles tendon surgery is an outpatient procedure usually lasting a few hours. You may experience pain and discomfort in the days following your surgery. Try to keep your leg elevated to reduce swelling. You may take pain medications as necessary.

When is surgery needed for Achilles tendonitis? ›

You might need Achilles tendon surgery if you tore your tendon. Surgery is advised for many cases of a ruptured Achilles tendon. But in some cases, your healthcare provider may advise other treatments first. These may include pain medicine, or a temporary cast to prevent your leg from moving.

How do you get rid of heel spurs without surgery? ›

Non-Surgical Treatments for Heel Spurs
  1. Stretching exercises.
  2. Shoe recommendations.
  3. Taping or strapping to rest stressed muscles and tendons.
  4. Shoe inserts or orthotic devices.
  5. Physical therapy.
  6. Night splints.
28 Aug 2022

Is a heel spur the same as a bone spur? ›

A heel spur is a calcium deposit on the calcaneus, or heel bone. Despite the name “spur,” it is usually not a spiky protrusion but a smooth outgrowth that has developed over a long period. Bone spurs are growth points off of the edge of a bone.

Is walking good for Achilles tendonitis? ›

You can help your Achilles tendon to recover by staying active but limiting your walking and other activities to a level that doesn't aggravate your symptoms too much.

How much does it cost to remove a heel spur? ›

How Much Does a Heel Bone Spur Removal Cost? On MDsave, the cost of a Heel Bone Spur Removal ranges from $4,086 to $6,616. Those on high deductible health plans or without insurance can save when they buy their procedure upfront through MDsave.

How long does heel surgery take? ›

General Facts about the Surgery

Surgery is performed under a general anesthetic, and takes approximately two hours to perform. The surgical procedure is called an open reduction and internal fixation, and may include an arthroscopic procedure. exposes the side of the heel and the fracture.

Can a chiropractor fix heel spur? ›

In extreme cases, steroid injections and surgery may be necessary, but heel spurs usually respond well to conservative chiropractic treatment.

Do bone spurs get bigger? ›

Although the name “spur” suggests something sharp, bone spurs are usually smooth and may or may not cause any symptoms. Over time, a bone spur may continue to grow, leading to painful irritation of surrounding soft tissue like tendons, ligaments or nerves.

Do bone spurs grow back after removal? ›

Although bone spurs don't usually grow back after surgery, more may develop elsewhere in your body.

How invasive is bone spur surgery? ›

This procedure can be performed using minimally invasive techniques and will relieve pressure on the nerve root. You will be sedated during this procedure. The surgeon will access the affected vertebrae via a small incision, usually no bigger than an inch or two.

Does stretching help heel spurs? ›

The bottom line

Consistently doing stretches and exercises can help to reduce pain and inflammation from heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. It's a good idea to continue doing the stretches even once your feet feel better in order to prevent a recurrence.

What is a heel spur look like? ›

Heel spurs may be pointy, hooked, or shelf-like. The outgrowth of a heel spur extends from the underneath of the heel towards the arch (the middle of the foot). This area of the foot is called the plantar fascia. When seen on an X-ray, a heel spur may be up to half an inch long.

Can a heel spur cause ankle pain? ›

The symptoms of heel spurs are pain in the lower ankle, which increase when walking. Treatment of heel spurs can be treated many ways and most often times is very effective. If someone suspects that they have heel spurs, they should contact their physician.

How do you get rid of exostosis? ›

The treatment for exostosis will depend on the cause of the growth and the symptoms.
...
Treatments for Exostosis
  1. Apply ice to help with swelling.
  2. Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.
  3. Use shoe inserts for bone spurs in your feet.
  4. Lose weight to put less stress on your joints.
  5. Rest.
20 Apr 2021

Can calcaneal spur be cured? ›

Heel spurs can't be cured. Healthcare providers recommend non-surgical treatments to ease symptoms associated with heel spurs.

How can exostosis be prevented? ›

The best way to prevent the development or progression of exostosis is to use earplugs while swimming or surfing in ocean waters. At ChEARS Hearing Center, we offer custom earplugs for surfers and swimmers.

Can exostosis be cancerous? ›

There's about a 1 to 6 percent risk that a benign exostosis resulting from HME can become cancerous. When that happens, it's called an osteosarcoma.

Can bone spurs be removed without surgery? ›

Nonsurgical Treatment for Bone Spurs

Most patients with mild or moderate nerve compression and irritation from bone spurs can manage their symptoms effectively without surgery. The goal of nonsurgical treatment is to stop the cycle of inflammation and pain.

Do bone spurs continue to grow? ›

Over time, a bone spur may continue to grow, leading to painful irritation of surrounding soft tissue like tendons, ligaments or nerves. Bone spurs tend to be most painful at the bottom of the heel due to the pressure of body weight.

Is exostosis genetic? ›

Hereditary multiple exostosis, also known as diaphyseal aclasis, is a genetic condition often passed down to a child by one parent, but it can also be caused by a genetic mutation, meaning it can occur on its own by a change.

What happens if a heel spur goes untreated? ›

For some patients, these deposits don't cause any discomfort. For many more, however, heel spurs can result in significant, even debilitating, pain. Left untreated, spurs in the heel can limit your activity significantly, with many patients unable to bear any weight on the affected foot.

Is walking good for heel spur? ›

Walking is often recommended as a low-impact exercise, but those who are unaccustomed to walking for long periods may easily aggravate a dormant spur. Running. Running places repetitive strain on the toes, ligaments, and bones of the feet, making it likelier for patients to suffer heel spurs. Aerobics.

What is the main cause of heel spurs? ›

Heel spurs are often caused by strains on foot muscles and ligaments, stretching of the plantar fascia, and repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone. Heel spurs are especially common among athletes whose activities include large amounts of running and jumping.

What is exostosis of the foot? ›

Exostosis is a generic term to describe bony growth from a bone surface. Over the foot, there are two common distinctive diagnoses: osteochondroma and subungual exostosis. Osteochondroma is uncommonly located in the foot.

What is exostosis surgery? ›

An exostectomy is the surgical removal of a bony prominence / outgrowth (exostosis). The aim of the surgery is to remove the bony prominence and reduce pain and deformity as a result.

Are bone spurs hereditary? ›

Factors that contribute to bone spurs include aging, heredity, injuries, poor nutrition and poor posture. Treatments can include medication, physical therapy and rest. If those don't work, surgery may be needed.

Why do I have extra bone growth? ›

Osteochondroma is an overgrowth of cartilage and bone that happens at the end of the bone near the growth plate. Most often, it affects the long bones in the leg, the pelvis, or the shoulder blade. Osteochondroma is the most common noncancerous bone growth. It most often occurs between ages 10 and 30.

Do osteochondromas need to be removed? ›

These bone tumors are diagnosed by X-ray. Children with an osteochondroma should be seen regularly by an orthopaedic doctor because in very rare instances, this benign tumor can turn cancerous. Most of the time, an osteochondroma does not require surgery. If the tumor causes pain, it can be removed by surgery.

What causes excess bone growth? ›

Fibrous dysplasia is a condition that causes abnormal growth or swelling of bone. The cause seems to be a genetic change that alters the usual growth of the bone's connective tissue. Treatment includes surgery to remove diseased section of bone.

Videos

1. Heel Pain | Retrocalcaneal Exostosis | Knoxville Chiropractor | Monday Modalities Week 2, Part I
(Knoxville Spine and Sports)
2. CALCANEAL SPUR & PHYSIOTHERAPY MANAGEMENT
(Physio Vibes)
3. Day 1/2 POST Surgery - heel spur/Achilles repair
(Marci B)
4. Achilles Bone Spur and Tendon Tear Patient Testimonial
(University Foot and Ankle Institute, Santa Monica)
5. Haglund Exostosis Retrocalcaneal exostosis, Mulholland deformity by Dr Kemal Gokkus
(Ortho TV : Orthopaedic Video Channel)
6. Heel spur
(Watkins Foot and Ankle Clinic)

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