Heel spur is a hook of bone that protrudes from the bottom of the foot where plantar fascia connects to the heel bone. Pain associated with heel spurs is usually pain from plantar fasciitis, not the
actual bone. Heel spurs are most often diagnosed when a patient has visited a pain specialist or podiatrist for on-going foot pain related to plantar fasciitis; spurs are diagnosed via X-ray of the
foot. Heel spurs are most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged men and women. As noted, most patients with this condition have other podiatry-related pain. This condition is a result of plantar
fasciitis (when the fascia, a thick connective tissue that connects the heel bone and ball of the foot) becomes inflamed. Some 70% of plantar fasciitis patients have a bone spur. Bone spurs are soft
calcium deposits caused from tension in the plantar fascia. When found on an X-ray, they are used as evidence that a patient is suffering from plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is typically caused
from repetitive stress disorder. Walking, running, and dancing can cause this with time.
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.
Heel spur and plantar fasciitis pain usually begins in the bottom of the heel, and frequently radiates into the arch. At times, however, the pain may be felt only in the arch. The pain is most
intense when first standing, after any period of rest. Most people with this problem experience their greatest pain in the morning, with the first few steps after sleeping. After several minutes of
walking, the pain usually becomes less intense and may disappear completely, only to return later with prolonged walking or standing. If a nerve is irritated due to the swollen plantar fascia, this
pain may radiate into the ankle. In the early stages of Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis, the pain will usually subside quickly with getting off of the foot and resting. As the disease progresses, it
may take longer periods of time for the pain to subside.
Your doctor, when diagnosing and treating this condition will need an x-ray and sometimes a gait analysis to ascertain the exact cause of this condition. If you have pain in the bottom of your foot
and you do not have diabetes or a vascular problem, some of the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory products such as Advil or Ibuprofin are helpful in eradicating the pain. Pain creams, such as
Neuro-eze, BioFreeze & Boswella Cream can help to relieve pain and help increase circulation.
Non Surgical Treatment
There are both conservative and surgical heel spur treatment options. Because the heel pain caused by heel spurs is symptomatic of inflammation, the first step is to ice the area in hopes to reduce
the inflammation. The next step is to see our orthopedic specialist to prescribe an appropriate treatment plan. Some conservative treatment options might include Anti-inflammatory medications. Shoe
orthotics. Shoe inserts. If conservative treatments are not working, surgery may be required to remove the heel spur. As in all cases of heel pain, it is important to see an orthopedic doctor who
specializes in foot and ankle pain.
Approximately 2% of people with painful heel spurs need surgery, meaning that 98 out of 100 people do well with the non-surgical treatments previously described. However, these treatments can
sometimes be rather long and drawn out, and may become considerably expensive. Surgery should be considered when conservative treatment is unable to control and prevent the pain. If the pain goes
away for a while, and continues to come back off and on, despite conservative treatments, surgery should be considered. If the pain really never goes away, but reaches a plateau, beyond which it does
not improve despite conservative treatments, surgery should be considered. If the pain requires three or more injections of "cortisone" into the heel within a twelve month period, surgery should be