Bone spurs


Original Post
Jess Arnold · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 391

Does anyone have any experience with bone spurs/knobby growths that have developed on the back of their foot (mine are below my achilles and above my heel), particularly after wearing and climbing in aggressive shoes? They are quite apparent and I'm concerned that they will cause issues in the future, especially in regards to long-distance hiking in conjunction with my already-sensitive feet. I tend to get pretty bad blisters because of my narrow heel and now the extra friction/bone seems to be an additional problem. 

I began to notice the growths last fall after starting to climb/hike almost daily throughout the summer; they were quite painful then as I was wearing tighter shoes. I have finally been able to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, but I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience, any tips on preventative care (is there an aggressive shoe out there with a less cupped heel? I currently use the Scarpa Vapors), etc. 

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 81

I have achilles tendinosis in my right ankle, and it used to really suck to wear climbing shoes. (It's mostly healed now.)  I took a hairdryer to the heal cup of my TC Pros to loosen them up and it worked pretty well.  

I hope your spurs get resolved!  Foot and ankle problems suck.

Matthew Williams 1 · · Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 0

Jess - I played a lot of ice hockey and developed the same kind of spurs due to the pressure of tight-fitting skates and skating backwards a lot (defensemen.)  I ended up having surgery to have one of the spurs ground off because the achilles tendon was stretched across it and really bothering me when hiking, running etc.  I have to be honest - because they have to detach the achilles the surgery involves a long and painful recovery which includes physical therapy to retrain the tendon.  Just be aware of this when they suggest the surgical option.  I chose to leave the other spur alone and it has not gotten worse since I stopped playing hockey (climb and hike exclusively now) and I take care not to wear shoes that rub it the wrong way.  You probably know more about climbing shoes than I do, but I'm sure you can find a shoe with a little more room in the heel.  If you keep up with the same, the spurs will just get worse.  Hang in there with I and don't disregard the surgical option, but be aware you will be out for weeks of recovery if you go that route.  Good luck! 

Jess Arnold · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 391
Chris C. wrote:

I have achilles tendinosis in my right ankle, and it used to really suck to wear climbing shoes. (It's mostly healed now.)  I took a hairdryer to the heal cup of my TC Pros to loosen them up and it worked pretty well.  

I hope your spurs get resolved!  Foot and ankle problems suck.

Thanks for the tip! I hope they get resolved too :) 

Jess Arnold · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 391
Matthew Williams 1 wrote:

Jess - I played a lot of ice hockey and developed the same kind of spurs due to the pressure of tight-fitting skates and skating backwards a lot (defensemen.)  I ended up having surgery to have one of the spurs ground off because the achilles tendon was stretched across it and really bothering me when hiking, running etc.  I have to be honest - because they have to detach the achilles the surgery involves a long and painful recovery which includes physical therapy to retrain the tendon.  Just be aware of this when they suggest the surgical option.  I chose to leave the other spur alone and it has not gotten worse since I stopped playing hockey (climb and hike exclusively now) and I take care not to wear shoes that rub it the wrong way.  You probably know more about climbing shoes than I do, but I'm sure you can find a shoe with a little more room in the heel.  If you keep up with the same, the spurs will just get worse.  Hang in there with I and don't disregard the surgical option, but be aware you will be out for weeks of recovery if you go that route.  Good luck! 

Thanks for the insight! I am hoping to avoid surgery because of my active lifestyle... perhaps there is a footwear combination I can perfect to prevent it from getting any worse, like you have found. 

Cody Vann · · Boulder · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0

Its called Haglunds deformity if you are interested in researching it a bit. I used to work in Ortho and the typical conservative treatment is stretch a few times a day religiously (not aggressive but consistent) and avoid wearing the super tight shoes. I have it too on my left heel and found super tight shoes can irritate it somewhat. I found the Mythos to be perfect for accomadating a little extra bone growth.

Byron Marohn · · Portland, OR · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 3

I've got a pretty similar situation to the OP - bump on the back of my right foot where the achilles attaches to my heel. Definitely makes aggressive climbing shoes hurt, especially on slabby routes (Smith... ugh). I've been hunting for a pair of good climbing shoes for a while now to accommodate this, and I finally discovered that Scarpa's Force X shoes have excellent heel padding and enough heel room to be comfortable. I even got a pair sized a half size too small and was still able to use them (no way I could do that with any other climbing shoe I've tried). I'm on my second (slightly larger) pair and am very happy with them. 

Since I changed shoes maybe 6 months ago it seems to have improved somewhat, so I haven't done anything more drastic yet. YMMV

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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