Everyday Foot Problems

How to Treat Bone Spurs

Like a bunion or a hammertoe, a bone spur is generally not a preventable foot problem. All you can do about it -- short of having corrective surgery -- is try to cope with it and use the tips on how to treat bone spurs that you'll find in this article to help alleviate the pain.

A spur is a calcium growth on a bone that exerts pressure on the surrounding tissue and on the skin beyond the tissue. As exotic and awful as the idea of growing a "spur" seems, it's not uncommon: Each year, it happens to about one million Americans. Spurs can grow on various bones in the foot (as well as other bones in the body), but the kind that's most often associated with pain is the heel spur. Because the weight of your whole body presses down on your heel, any pain in that area is intensified and calls for relief.

While they can develop in anybody, heel spurs hurt most in heavier people (including pregnant women) and in athletes who repeatedly land hard on their heels in running or jumping. The best temporary remedy, especially if bursitis has also developed around the spur, is to keep from exerting continued pressure on it. Stay off the foot and keep it out of shoes as much as you can.

Other helpful treatments include applying ice packs to the area and using an over-the-counter painkiller, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. When you must wear shoes and walk around, put a foam or felt heel pad (U-shaped in the case of a heel spur) inside your shoe.

A doctor may prescribe weight loss, special physiotherapy, injections, orthotics, or anti-inflammatory medication; sometimes a walking cast is also recommended when there is severe pain. You may also ask your doctor about stretching exercises you can do that will alleviate the pain. However, if your bone spur doesn't respond to any treatment or gets worse -- if the calcium buildup continues or if there is bleeding inside the foot -- you may eventually need surgery.

Hopefully the foot problems you are experiencing can be alleviated or avoided by following the hints and home remedies provided in this article. If your condition is severe, or if you are diabetic or have poor circulation, please do consult a doctor about your situation.

To learn more about treating and avoiding problems with your feet, visit:

  • Foot Injuries: Find out how to avoid unpleasant injuries to your feet, or at least reduce pain and prevent infection after they occur, with these simple suggestions.
  • How to Care for Your Feet: Learn how to keep your feet -- and yourself -- healthy and happy with these tips on caring for your feet, including selecting the right shoes.
Suzanne M. Levine, DPM, was a contributing writer to this article.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.