Here’s a clinical interaction that happens every single week for the expert podiatrists working at PridePlus Health.
“Help me. I’ve just come from the doctor who has told me I have a heel spur. Look at this X-ray, isn’t it just the worst? What will I do?”
“Ok, that does sound like alot to take in, let’s go back to the start. Why did you go to the doctor or get the X-ray, are you in pain?”
“Yes, every morning I go to get up and my heel just shoots with pain, it’s sore for a few minutes but warms up a bit. If I stop and sit at work when I get moving it hurts then too. If I really go overboard and run too far it burns and aches at the end of the day too. Help!”
“Alright, let’s talk about that pain and look at what’s causing it. Your X-rays are really quite interesting, they show some subtle changes that we expect when we lead busy lives on our feet but one thing they cannot show is pain.”
“What do you mean they don’t show pain, my heel is sore and look at this thorny looking heel spur at the bottom, that’s where I’m sore! That’s my pain.”
“Absolutely, that’s where you’re sore alright but the spur itself is highly unlikely to be causing your pain. If you see on the xray of your other non-painful heel there is a heel spur there too but it doesn’t hurt does it?”
“No, no that heel spur doesn’t hurt at all.”
“And we also know that there’s been a lot of studies into heel spurs as X-rays have been around for a long long time now. There’s a few discrepancies but a rule of thumb (or toe) is that the prevalence of heel spurs on X-rays is around equal to our age in decades.
30% of people in their 30’s, 40% of people in their 40’s etc. have heel spurs evident on X-rays but pain does not match up.
So let’s get down to a proper clinical examination and work out what and why that heel of yours is getting sore and plan to achieve some goals together. What would your goal(s) be?”
And cut, end scene. Without exaggeration, every single podiatrist working at PridePlus Health would get a mirror of that consultation each week. It’s staggering the amount of fear and misinformation is out there regarding heel spurs. If you have been told you have a heel spur, or struggling along in pain because there’s been a diagnosis of a heel spurand you feel powerless to do anything read on.
So the answer to how do you get rid of a heel spur is…
Almost always, you don’t!
The vast majority of the time a heel spur is an incidental finding on an X-ray which is adjacent to, or somewhat involved in but rarely causing heel pain. That being said in a very minor percentage of people suffering with heel pain a heel spur might be involved. This is an incredibly minor subset of people who suffer from heel pain and an expert podiatrist will identify this immediately with your assessment and guide you through your heel pain treatment options.
Now if you’ve found this page, the chances are that you have been told that you have a heel spur as the culprit to your heel pain. Now we have some excellent content on heel pain HERE and HERE. You don’t need to suffer in pain, our podiatrists in Melbourne, Pascoe Vale and Emerald will work with you to identify the exact cause of your pain and plan with you to get on top of it and achieve whatever goals you set out to.
And a final note on heel spurs and getting rid of them…
Many people have heard the miraculous tale of the fit young Manhattan man named Donald. The son of a wealthy real estate tycoon who couldn’t go to Vietnam to fight for the Americans due to a heel spur. According to the (failing?:) New York Times this diagnosis was made in 1968 by a podiatrist named Dr. Larry Braunstein who rented his Queen’s offices from Mr Fred C Trump, Donald’s father.
Knowing what you now know about heel spurs and their unlikelihood to be involved in any pain under the heel, well… what an interesting series of connections.