The term heel spur generally refers more specifically to a heel spur, also known as a calcaneal spur. These calcium growths form around the tendons and ligaments of the foot and eventually become
attached to the heel bone. The spurs then continue to grow, piercing the skin of the foot and causing pain and discomfort. When left untreated the spur can continue to grow causing agonizing pain and
even immobilizing the patient.
Though this syndrome is most common in individuals 40 years or older, it can occur at any age. The following factors increase the likelihood of heel spur development. An uneven gait which applies too
much pressure to certain areas of the foot. Being overweight. Wearing worn shoes or ill-fitting footwear. Job conditions that require long periods spent standing or lifting heavy objects. The normal
aging process which results in a decrease in ligament elasticity.
Heel spur is characterised by a sharp pain under the heel when getting out of bed in the morning or getting up after sitting for a period of time. Walking around for a while often helps reduce the
pain, turning it into a dull ache. However, sports, running or walking long distance makes the condition worse. In some cases swelling around the heel maybe present.
Sharp pain localized to the heel may be all a doctor needs to understand in order to diagnose the presence of heel spurs. However, you may also be sent to a radiologist for X-rays to confirm the
presence of heel spurs.
Non Surgical Treatment
There are many ways to treat heel spurs. Some remedies you can even do at home once a podiatrist shows you how. Heel spur treatment is very similar to treatment of plantar fasciitis. Here are a few
of the most common treatments. First, your doctor will assess which activities are causing your symptoms and suggest rest and time off from these activities. Ice packs are used to control pain and
reduce symptoms. Certain exercises and stretches help you to feel relief quickly. Medications that reduce inflammation and decrease pain are also used. Sometimes cortisone injections are given. Often
special shoe orthotics can help to take the pressure off of the plantar fascia and reduce symptoms. Night splints that keep your heel stretched are sometimes recommended. Rarely, surgery is an
option. A new treatment called extracorporeal shock wave therapy is being studied.
Sometimes bone spurs can be surgically removed or an operation to loosen the fascia, called a plantar fascia release can be performed. This surgery is about 80 percent effective in the small group of
individuals who do not have relief with conservative treatment, but symptoms may return if preventative measures (wearing proper footwear, shoe inserts, stretching, etc) are not maintained.