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One of the most common problems we are now seeing with hockey players in competition, and ice skating is Haglund’s deformity, which is referred to as a “retrocalcaneal spur.” This spur is at the Achilles tendon behind the heel bone. This is different than a heel spur on the bottom of the heel, but both conditions must be ruled out by x-ray evaluation. This condition may also be found in the general public, most commonly with the high arch foot.

A heel spur is a hard and usually painful area in the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches itself to the heel bone.

When the area is examined and palpated, there is a feeling of hard bone rather than the soft suppleness of the Achilles tendon. Once an episode of tendinitis has occurred, the athlete will have a greater tendency toward recurrence. It is important to stop all activities at this point, rather than rupture the tendon.

The proper training shoes, and skate boot with good heel cushioning and stability, will also protect the area from additional trauma. Most important are preventative measures, starting with exercise for stretching and strengthening to gain better flexibility.

The use of aquaphor ointment on the heel under the sock to lubricate from friction is helpful. This injury can be very painful in acute stages and can become chronic, creating problems for years.

It is important to rest the area and seek medical attention.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Dr. Weiss is a veteran of 35 marathons. For more information go to www.facebook.com/drrobertweiss