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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Foot spurs

    I have a referral to see an orthopaedic surgeon about spurs in both heels and one near my Achilles tendon. Am I wasting my time?
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  • Dr Simon Zilko

    Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Dr Simon Zilko - Foot & Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Simon Zilko is a locally and internationally trained consultant orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in all … View Profile

    Heel spurs are a common referral that orthopaedic surgeons get, and many patients come in asking for them to be removed. The issue is not actually the spur though - it's the soft tissue structures that attach to the bone that are the problem.

    Spurs of bone from the calcaneum (heel bone) often occur on both the underside of the bone at the plantar fascia origin, and the insertion of the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. They essentially represent enthesopathy (a disorder of the attachment of a tendon or ligament to bone). The spur is a sequelae of an abnormally tight structure pulling on the bone - and that overpull causes bone to form, hence creating the spur.

    If you have pain at the site of either your plantar fascia origin (under your heel) or your Achilles tendon attachment (back of the heel), then you should certainly see an orthopaedic surgeon (preferably one specialising in foot & ankle conditions). They will be best placed to talk about non-operative treatment, as well as surgery if that's required.

    If your spurs are completely incidental findings on an xray and you don't have any symptoms, then I wouldn't worry about them!

    Best of luck,

    Dr Simon Zilko

    (Foot & Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeon)

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