When the body is under stress or constent inflammation it will deposit calcium to our bones. This added 'bone growth' is designed to relieve the added stress/pressure to our connective tissue. In the
case of a heel spur, added calcium to the heel bone (calcaneus). It usually forms at the bottom underside of the heel bone where the plantar fascia attaches. This calcium deposit forms over a period
of many months. Heel bones can very in shape and size from person to person. An irregular shape heel (calcaneus) can cause the tissue to twist (plantar ligament and Achilles tendon) or a smaller heel
bone will put additional stress on tendons and ligaments.
Athletes who participate in sports that involve a significant amount of jumping and running on hard surfaces are most likely to suffer from heel spurs. Some other risk factors include poor form while
walking which can lead to undue stress on the heel and its nerves and ligaments. Shoes that are not properly fitted for the wearer?s feet. Poor arch support in footwear. Being overweight. Occupations
that require a lot of standing or walking. Reduced flexibility and the thinning of the fat pad along the bottom of the heel, both of which are a typical depreciation that comes with aging.
The following symptoms are typical of heel spur. Stabbing pain when treading on the area affected. Dull, irregularly occurring pains in the heel area also without exerting pressure (e.g. in a
reclining position) Pain when taking the first steps in the morning (after lying or sitting down for an extended period, especially in the morning) Occasional swelling in the ankle area. For the
lower heel spur, extreme sensitivity at the tendon attachment (laterally in the lower heel area) For the upper heel spur, extreme pressure sensitivity of the Achilles tendon, primarily at
approximately ankle height.
Most patients who are suffering with heel spurs can see them with an X-ray scan. They are normally hooked and extend into the heel. Some people who have heel spur may not even have noticeable
symptoms, although could still be able to see a spur in an X-ray scan.
Non Surgical Treatment
If pain and other symptoms of inflammation-redness, swelling, heat-persist, you should limit normal daily activities and contact a doctor of podiatric medicine. The podiatric physician will examine
the area and may perform diagnostic X-rays to rule out problems of the bone. Early treatment might involve oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medication, exercise and shoe recommendations, taping
or strapping, or use of shoe inserts or orthotic devices. Taping or strapping supports the foot, placing stressed muscles and tendons in a physiologically restful state. Physical therapy may be used
in conjunction with such treatments. A functional orthotic device may be prescribed for correcting biomechanical imbalance, controlling excessive pronation, and supporting of the ligaments and
tendons attaching to the heel bone. It will effectively treat the majority of heel and arch pain without the need for surgery. Only a relatively few cases of heel pain require more advanced
treatments or surgery. If surgery is necessary, it may involve the release of the plantar fascia, removal of a spur, removal of a bursa, or removal of a neuroma or other soft-tissue growth.
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.