What A Heel! Notes on Trump’s Draft Deferring Bone Spurs

What's up, Don? I could have fixed your heel spurs, quick!I try to avoid political talk on this blog, but I hope you’ll bear with me on this post as it’s right up my alley. According to the New York Times, Donald Trump got a Vietnam War draft deferment because he had bone spurs in his heels.

Confused about what that means? Here’s the deal: Bone is living tissue with the potential to change and grow over time. When extra, abnormal bone tissue develops the growth is called a bone spur. Bone spurs commonly occur around the small joints of the toes, causing increased pressure between the toes and forming soft corns.

Another common area for bone spur growth is the top of the foot, especially over the great toe joint. This type of growth is usually the result of repetitive joint stress caused by years of walking. Pressure from the bone spur, also called a dorsal bunion, can cause the surrounding tissue to become inflamed when you wear shoe.

Heel spurs, that pesky affliction that kept Don home from war, are bone spurs that develop on the bottom or back of the heel bone. They form due to pressure from the attached tendon or ligament as it pulls on the heel. Although heel spurs commonly present with other conditions such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, they are usually not the primary cause of pain. In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, only half of bone spur sufferers experience pain associated with the condition. Many people don’t even know they have a bone spur, as it does not always cause a bump to develop.

Treatment for bone spurs includes padding, changes in shoegear, injection therapy, and custom orthotics. In cases where more conservative therapy does not alleviate the pain, surgical removal of the bone spurs would then be an option. Draft dodging, however, is not a typical side effect or treatment plan, so this Houston podiatrist gives permission to judge as you like.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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