It took a very small problem to bring down a very big man.
Shaquille O’Neal was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA for his stellar career including 4 championships, 3 Finals MVP awards and 15 All-Star appearances. The Shaq clocks in at 7 feet 1 inch tall and wears enormous size 22 shoes.
Despite his successes, O’Neal was plagued with foot problems for much of his basketball career. He suffered from chronic bone spurs in his little toe, so – ironically – a tiny but very painful joint sidelined one of the biggest men in the history of the NBA. Critics maintain that Shaq bears some of the responsibility for the pain he experienced in his feet. The athlete wasn’t always in shape when arriving at training camp, and he delayed the necessary surgery on the little toe, cutting into the beginning of the season.
Bone Spurs on Toes Can Be Very Painful
Toe bone spurs occur most often on the little toe, but can appear in any other toe as well as on the sides of the toes. They are usually caused by excessive pressure on the toes when squeezed together from wearing shoes.
Sometimes individuals have bone spurs in the toes without symptoms, but they can also be very painful. The spurs themselves are not painful, but can cause pain when they rub against nearby nerves, bone or soft tissue. A bone spur may also break off and interfere with the joint, causing loss of function when it locks.
Treating Toe Bone Spurs
To treat a bone spur in the toe, Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM will first prescribe medication to relieve some of the pain and inflammation. Physical therapy won’t remove the spur but can strengthen the surrounding muscles and keep the joint flexible. Special shoe pads or inserts can take the pressure off the bone spur area so shoes can be worn.
Surgery may be required to remove the bone spurs and therefore take the pressure off the joint, muscles, nerves and tendons. The surgery is usually done under local anesthetic. Wearing a post-operative shoe, resting and elevating the foot will hasten the healing and make the patient more comfortable until a normal shoe can be worn.
We Can Help with Any Toe, Foot or Ankle Pain
Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to deal with bone spurs in the toes or any other foot or ankle problem. Many treatments and surgeries can be handled right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Even if you’re not a basketball star, you need to take good care of your feet! Call us today to relieve your toe pain.