Although a heel spur is often thought to be the source of heel pain, it rarely is. When a patient has plantar fasciitis, the plantar fascia pulls on the bottom of the heel bone. Over time this can
cause a spur to form. Heels spurs are a very common x-ray finding, and because the heel spur is buried deep in soft tissue and not truly in a weight bearing area, there is often no history of pain.
It is important to note that less than one percent of all heel pain is due to a spur. but frequently caused by the plantar fascia pulling on the heel. Once the plantar fasciitis is properly treated,
the heel spur could be a distant memory.
Heel spurs can be caused by several things. Anything that can cause the body to rebuild itself can lead to a bone spur. A heel spur is a natural reaction of the body to correct a weakness by building
extra bone. One of the most common causes for the development of heel spurs is the wearing of shoes that are too tight. That?s why more women suffer from heel spurs more than men. Athletes who tend
to stress their feet a lot, people are overweight who have more pressure on their lower extremities and the elderly also tend to suffer more from heel spurs.
Heel spurs may or may not cause symptoms. Symptoms are usually related to the plantar fasciitis. You may experience significant pain. Your heel pain may be worse in the morning when you first wake up
or during certain activities.
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
Rest won?t help you in case of pain from the heel spur. When you get up after sleeping for some time, the pain may get worse. The pain worsens after a period of rest. You will feel pain because the
plantar fascia elongates during working which stresses the heel. It is important to see a doctor if you are having consistent pain in you heel. The doctors may advise few or all of the conservative
treatments, stretching exercises, shoe recommendations, shoe inserts or orthotic devices, physical therapy, taping or strapping to rest stressed muscles and tendons. There are some over-the-counter
medicines available for treatment of heel pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve) are some such medicines which can help you to get relief from the pain. In case of
biomechanical imbalances causing the pain, a functional orthotic device can help you to get relief. Your doctor may also advise a corticosteroid injection for eliminating the inflammation.
More than 90 percent of people get better with nonsurgical treatments. If conservative treatment fails to treat symptoms of heel spurs after a period of 9 to 12 months, surgery may be necessary to
relieve pain and restore mobility. Surgical techniques include release of the plantar fascia, removal of a spur. Pre-surgical tests or exams are required to identify optimal candidates, and it's
important to observe post-surgical recommendations concerning rest, ice, compression, elevation of the foot, and when to place weight on the operated foot. In some cases, it may be necessary for
patients to use bandages, splints, casts, surgical shoes, crutches, or canes after surgery. Possible complications of heel surgery include nerve pain, recurrent heel pain, permanent numbness of the
area, infection, and scarring. In addition, with plantar fascia release, there is risk of instability, foot cramps, stress fracture, and tendinitis.
In 2002, researchers attempted to compare the effects of various running techniques on pronation and resulting injuries like stress fractures and heel spurs. They suggested that it is possible to
teach runners to stride in such a way as to minimize impact forces. One way is to lower running speed. Another is to take longer rest periods following a run.