heel spur

Heel spurs are very common.  Most of the time people interpret pain on the bottom of the foot as heel spurs.  This is a very old term and has an interesting history.  

X-rays were developed around the same time modern medicine was growing and specialties were developing.  There were small fluorscopes available at that time in shoe stores and people could put their feet in these to have the bones evaluated for shoe gear.  Of course these were not regulated and radiation was a problem so they went away.  

However, during all these visits people noticed that they had heel spurs.  When the same person had heel pain they interpreted the pain to be coming from the heel spur.  The medical term for that pain was adopted at that time as "Heel Spurs".  This was used for decades to explain the cause of plantar (bottom of the foot) heel pain.  In fact, surgery on heel pain that didn't respond to conservative treatment involved removing the spur.  

Then MRI's were developed in the 1980's and we were able to see the inside of the foot.  Radiologists noted that the inflammation and pain was caused by tearing of a ligament UNDER the spur but right next to it.  This was confirmed over time to be an inflamed Plantar Fascia.  Commonly now called Plantar Fasciitis.  

At some point the term was changed officially from a bone problem (heel spurs) to plantar fasciitis (soft tissue) problem.  We now refer to plantar heel pain as plantar fasciitis.  

It has been demonstrated by multitudes of research now in 2024 that the heel spur is NOT the cause of pain in the bottom of the heel.  In fact, thousands of surgeries have been performed successfully and resolving the heel pain without removal or addressing the heel spur.  The spur does not cause or create pain in people and there is no reason to address the bone spur.  

Unfortunately, people still use the term heel spurs to refer to plantar heel pain since it is difficult to change.  

If you have further questions on heel spurs you can make an appointment and ask Dr DiNucci.  


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