How Podiatrists Are Helping To Treat Bone Spurs

Updated on October 19, 2020
close-up young man feeling pain in his foot because leg cramps and ankles on stair, Have ankle pain, Health concept

Do you feel some pain or stiffness when bending parts of your leg? If so, this may be a sign of a condition famously known as bone spurs, or osteophytes. Muscle cramps, weakness, or bumps beneath the skin are other signs that doctors usually use to diagnose bone spurs. In addition to bone joints (heels, knees, etc.), this condition may also manifest itself in the spine, which can be quite uncomfortable.

Fortunately, osteophytes may be managed or alleviated if the right procedures are applied; podiatrists have a lot of options when it comes to the treatment of bone spurs. This article aims to cover some common ways that bone specialists, like Eastern Idaho Foot Clinic, are using to help control this condition.

Treatment Methods 

As stated earlier, podiatrists have a plethora of options when dealing with patients who have bone spurs. Depending on the severity of the condition, the physician may either opt for surgical or non-surgical treatment. 

As the names suggest, the former involves the surgical removal of the tissue that’s causing the pain or stiffness. Non-surgical treatment, on the other hand, includes physical therapy and various medications. 

Read on to find out more.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Oral Medication

As you might notice, most non-surgical methods don’t necessarily treat the condition itself. Instead, they’re geared towards dealing with the symptoms, like pain and stiffness. Oral medication is meant to do precisely that.

A podiatrist may decide to employ this method to help the patient through the situation. In most cases, oral medication is prescribed when the patient is in pain, which is common, and to enhance other treatment methods such as surgery. 

Steroid Shots

It’s worth noting that there’s no right or wrong treatment method provided you know what you’re tackling. For instance, when relieving pain, you’ll either need oral medication or a shot of steroids, such as corticosteroids. Since we already know a little thing about oral medication in relation to managing bone spurs, how exactly do these corticosteroids work?

First, it’s worth noting that the body produces a hormone known as cortisone when under stress. The function of corticosteroids is to suppress this hormone, preventing inflammation, or even pain. Podiatrists are trained to give these injections whenever necessary. If, for instance, you have plantar fasciitis, the shots will be in the exact spot of the affected tissue. 

Physical Therapy

Another non-surgical method that a podiatrist may use to help manage bone spurs or make the pain bearable is through physical therapy. Like most non-surgical treatment options, physical therapy doesn’t deal with the issue itself but rather its symptoms. Podiatrists may take up the process since they’re also trained to do so, although it falls in the work category of a chiropractor.

Before opting to go with this form of treatment, the physician will first need to make sure that the patient is comfortable. Some of the ways to do so are by using ice packs, anti-inflammatory drugs, or letting the patient rest for a few hours. Once the patient is comfortable and the pain is under control, the physician can go ahead with the procedure.

Here are some of the physical therapy procedures that a physician may use:

  • Posture Improvement: Your podiatrist will guide you on the best habits that may improve your posture. This will not only enhance the treatment process but also prevent any further damage.
  • Joint Movement: In most cases, the problem is caused by repetitive activities involving one of the joints (heels or knees). The podiatrist will advise you on what to incorporate before going back to your previous activities, like sports. For one, you might need orthotics to help in the process. 
  • Strengthening: Another form of physical therapy used by podiatrists is prescribing an exercise that will strengthen the surrounding muscles. The strengthened muscles will help reduce the amount of pressure posed on the affected joint or area. 
  • Massage: Your physician may also massage the tissue around the spur to allow better blood circulation. This method is mostly applied when the affected area is stiff. 

Give Advice And Supply The Necessary Tools

Although this might not fall under the “treatment” category, it’s worth noting that podiatrists can also share relevant information with their patients. Dealing with bone spurs is not all about taking medications or going into the operating room. You can also manage the condition by following the advice of a bone expert. 

For instance, resting or using the right footwear can go a long way in not only managing the current problem but also preventing any further issues. Most podiatrists will always provide you with orthotics, which are tailor-made insoles and paddings designed to relieve pressure and realign your feet. 

Surgical Treatment

Sometimes the non-surgical methods may prove ineffective even after several attempts. At this stage, the only viable option is special podiatric treatments to physically remove the problematic tissue. The surgical procedures can either be done on their own or in a combination with other surgeries. Take note that this will depend on your current situation and what procedure the podiatrist deems viable.

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Osteoarthritis both knee . film x-ray AP ( anterior – posterior ) of knee show narrow joint space , osteophyte ( spur ) , subcondral sclerosis

Here are some of the main surgical treatment options that may be used by the doctors:

  • Osteophytectomy: this involves the removal of one or more bone spurs from the affected area. 
  • Foraminotomy: this is a decompression procedure that aims to increase the space within the foramen. Consequently, the pressure on the nerve root may be relieved, making the patient comfortable.


Bone spurs are quite a common condition, but not many people know how to deal with it. Podiatrists are continually applying the available and new techniques to treat the issue. They can either use surgical or non-surgical techniques to help alleviate the pain, ensuring the safety and comfort of the patient. 

The most common non-surgical methods include oral medication, physical therapy, and advising the patients on various habits. Surgical procedures, on the other hand, involve the removal of the tissue from the affected area. Alternatively, the podiatrist may decide to create more space within the region to relieve pressure from the nerves.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.