The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and absorbs the most shock and pressure. A heel spur develops as an abnormal growth of the heel bone. Most commonly, calcium deposits form when the
plantar fascia pulls away from the heel area, causing a bony protrusion, or heel spur to develop. While bone spurs can develop in other locations such as the rear of the heel bone, this is the most
common location for development. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Heel spurs can cause
extreme pain in the rearfoot, especially while standing or walking.
An individual with the lower legs angulating inward, a condition called genu valgum or "knock knees," can have a tendency toward excessive pronation. As a result, this too can lead to a fallen arch
resulting in plantar fascitis and heel spurs. Women tend to have more genu valgum than men do. Heel spurs can also result from an abnormally high arch. Other factors leading to heel spurs include a
sudden increase in daily activities, an increase in weight, or a change of shoes. Dramatic increase in training intensity or duration may cause plantar fascitis. Shoes that are too flexible in the
middle of the arch or shoes that bend before the toe joints will cause an increase in tension in the plantar fascia and possibly lead to heel spurs.
Heel spurs result in a jabbing or aching sensation on or under the heel bone. The pain is often worst when you first arise in the morning and get to your feet. You may also experience pain when
standing up after prolonged periods of sitting, such as work sessions at a desk or car rides. The discomfort may lessen after you spend several minutes walking, only to return later. Heel spurs can
cause intermittent or chronic pain.
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
Treatments for bone spurs and plantar fasciitis include Stretching the calf muscles several times daily is critical in providing tension relief for the plantar fascia. Some physicians may recommend
using a step to stretch, while others may encourage yoga or pushing against a wall to stretch. Icing after activity. A frozen tennis ball can provide specific relief. Rolling the tennis ball under
the arch of the foot after exercise can lessen pain in the area. Taping is also recommended at times. Several manufacturers of sports tape have plantar fascia specific lines. Orthotics are a good
idea for those on their feet during the day. Orthotics can provide cushioning and relief. Cortisone shots in the fascia can provide temporary anti-inflammatory relief. Losing weight is perhaps the
most effective method of improving heel and foot pain. Those who are overweight are far more likely to report these syndromes.
When chronic heel pain fails to respond to conservative treatment, surgical treatment may be necessary. Heel surgery can provide pain relief and restore mobility. The type of procedure used is based
on examination and usually consists of releasing the excessive tightness of the plantar fascia, called a plantar fascia release. The procedure may also include removal of heel spurs.
Prevention of heel spur syndrome may be best by finding a good supportive shoe. Never go barefoot or wear a flat soled shoe. There are many over the counter arch supports that give increased support
for your feet. Usually when there is excessive pronation the Achilles Tendon contracts or becomes shortened over time since it is not being used fully. The shortened Achilles Tendon is called an
equinus deformity. By keeping this tendon stretched it may decrease some of the tension in the foot. Some theories believe the Achilles Tendon and plantar fascia is continuous. Before you get up from
rest, stretch out your Achilles and the plantar fascia. You may attempt to spell the alphabet with your foot and ankle, use a towel against pressure on your foot, or roll a can of soup or sodapop on
the ground. Ice may work well at the times of severe pain. For a chronic pain, or longer lasting pain heat therapy may improve the condition.