What is Heel Spur? Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and Surgery
Heel spurs are bony growths or calcium deposits on the heel bone (calcaneus) that forms as a result of an injury or overuse. They usually develop at the point where one or more plantar fascia ligaments attach to the calcaneus. Heel spurs make walking difficult and painful and can lead to chronic pain.
Over time, as you walk, your heel pad or plantar fascia might cause the heel bone to grind on its side. As a result, the pressure can cause an extra bone to grow near the back of your heel. This is known as a heel spur. Heel spurs come in different shapes and sizes and vary in severity.
This article will teach you about what causes heel spurs and how you can treat them at home or with professional help. You’ll also learn about surgical options if your case is severe.
What Are The Causes of Heel Spurs?
Long-term muscular and ligament stress is the direct cause of heel spurs. Spurs form as a result of this severe tension on the heel bone (calcaneus).
Over time, heel spurs to form. They don’t emerge out of anywhere after an exercise or a sporting activity. When you ignore early signs like heel discomfort, you’re more likely to develop heel spurs.
Heel spurs are also caused by repetitive stress from walking, running, or leaping on hard surfaces. Wearing shoes that don’t support your foot might potentially cause them to grow.
Plantar fasciitis is a common complication of heel spurs. This condition affects the strong, fibrous tissue that runs between your toes and heel.
Other Heel Spur’s causes include:
- Overweight or Obese
- Excessive use of flip-flops
- Heel bruises
- Excessive stress is placed on the heel bone and nerves.
What Are The Risk Factors of Heel Spurs
Several factors contribute to the development of heel spurs. They include:
- Getting involved in activities, especially athletic activity that involves running and jumping and increase the risk of heel spurs; this is because these activities wear down the arch and heel of the foot
- When the membrane covers the heel in turn because of an injury or bruise, the risk factor increases; this is because the tear can cause trauma to the heel.
- The more one grows, the more the risk of having heel spurs increase
- Heel spurs are more common in women; thus, the risk is increased in the women
- Underlying medical conditions like plantar fasciitis, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, ankylosing spondylitis
What Are the Symptoms of Heel Spurs
Symptoms of heel spurs include:
- Sharp knife-like with the few steps after getting out of bed in the morning
- Great pain after an activity or exercises
- Pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel
- Warmth feeling at the affected spot
- Swelling at the front of the heel
How Do You Prevent Heel Spurs
Wearing well-fitting shoes with maximum shock-absorbent insoles, strong shanks, and supporting heel counters; choosing the proper footwear for every physical activity; warming up and stretching exercises before each activity; and regulating yourself throughout the activities are all ways to avoid heel spurs.
Shoes with severe wear on the heels and insoles should be avoided. Losing weight can also help avoid heel spurs if you are overweight.
How Is Heel Spur Diagnosed?
Without medical aid, diagnosing a heel spur is difficult; because the symptoms are similar to those of other types of heel pain and foot issues. For a correct diagnosis, you will need to consult a specialist like an orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist. An X-ray, or MRI Scan can then be used to detect a heel spur
The majority of bony protrusions are not apparent to the human eye. If you have any unidentified reasons for foot discomfort and inflammation, diagnostic imaging techniques are critical. Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your foot to look for any indications of redness or inflammation before scheduling imaging testing. Your doctor will also examine your foot for any signs of discomfort. Physical tests, such as standing on one foot at a time and completing a short walk, may be required by your podiatrist.
How Do I Treat Heel Spur?
Rest and changes in lifestyles are the two primary treatments of the heel spur. Not only can rest help relieve sharp pain, but it can also prevent your condition from deteriorating. After long hours of standing and other activities, it’s especially vital to give your feet a break. If you have acute heel spur pain, your podiatrist may advise you to rest your foot until the pain goes away. Putting weight on your hurting heel will almost certainly make things worse. It may also extend the time it takes for you to recover.
However, your doctor healthcare provider can recommend the following treatment procedures:
By temporarily numbing the region, using ice packs or cold compresses for up to 20 minutes at a time may help reduce heel spur discomfort. This technique also aids in minimizing swelling. For heel spurs, cold compresses are preferred to heat packs since heat relieves joint and muscle pains better.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines can also assist to relieve acute or short-term pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are examples of these medications.
If you are to take any of these drugs, ensure they are prescribed by a doctor that knows your medical history.
Injections of Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Your podiatrist may suggest corticosteroid injections if you’re in a lot of discomforts. Anti-inflammatory injections in the heel and arch of the foot help to minimize pain and inflammation.
Use of Orthotic shoe insoles
Heel pads and other orthotic shoe inserts can help you get the arch and heel support you need to relieve discomfort. Heel cushions can also help to avoid additional damage.
This is the last treatment procedure. This procedure is invoked if other procedures could not produce the desired results; they are most times recommended by the doctor.
Heel spur surgery involves removing the spur or plantar fascia. This procedure reduces pain and boosts mobility in the foot.
Immediately after surgery, you are expected to wear a bandage over the incision part for at least three weeks. The legs should be rested during this period; and if there is a need to move, crutches should be used to aid movement.
The RICE method should be also used to minimize swelling and pain; wraps or bandages should be used for the compression.
The heel bone has a bump at the bottom of it. This bump sticks up into the back of your foot and is known as the heel spur. The most common cause of heel spurs is an injury to the back of the foot, usually from walking on hard surfaces.
This pain can lead to a stop in one’s daily activities if not treated before it becomes severe.
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