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What exactly is a spur?

The word Spur is usually used to describe an abnormal prominence of bone.  In the foot, the most common area in which people describe having a spur is on the heel bone.

Technically there are two different types of spurs--Exostoses and Hyperostoses.

What's the difference between the two?

An Exostosis (plural "exostoses") is a bony enlargement in an area where there is not supposed to be a bony prominence.

A Hyperostosis (plural "hyperostoses") is an excessive enlargement of a bony prominence that is supposed to be present.  

In practice, these words are sometimes used interchangeably.  

Where do people get spurs?

I'll give you three examples of common areas for spur formation to develop in the foot:

Both of these types of spurs are called exostoses because they are bony growths in an area that is not supposed to have a bony prominence. 

  • A third common location for spurs to develop in the foot is on the toes.  These are probably more correctly termed "hyperostoses", as most develop as an excessive growth of a normal bony prominence. 








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The Achilles Foot Health Centre
S. A. Schumacher, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., F.A.C.F.A.O.M.  
Dr. S. A. Schumacher, Podiatric Corporation  

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