Heel spurs are calcium deposits that are formed on the underside of the heel bone, usually over several months. They cause a bony protrusion and are usually associated with plantar fasciitis, where the fibrous band of tissue (plantar fascia) that connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot becomes inflamed.
Heel spur causes are generally a strain on the foot muscles and ligaments that stretch the plantar fascia and result in a tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone. People who are most at risk of heel spurs are those who are overweight, have an abnormal walking gait that increases stress, frequently run on hard surfaces and wear poorly fitting shoes that lack arch support. Plantar fasciitis occurs more often as people age, if they have diabetes, spend a lot of time standing or have flat feet or high arches.
How to Treat a Heel Spur
For some people, heel spurs do not intrude into the soft tissue and so treatment is not necessary since no discomfort is caused. For others, however, there is inflammation and intermittent or chronic pain, which generally results from soft tissue injury from the heel spur. This normally is a sharp pain at the start of activity but then fades to a dull ache. The pain will usually return when activity recommences and is not cured by rest.
If the pain persists for a month or more, you need to get something done. Heel spur treatment can include conservative measures such as:
- stretching exercises
- strapping to reduce the strain on the muscles and tendons
- using different shoes, shoe inserts or orthotic devices to provide support and correct imbalances
- night splints
- physical therapy
- anti-inflammatory drugs or a cortisone injection to reduce inflammation.
Over 90% of heel spurs are cured by conservative treatments but, if they don’t work after several months, surgery may be necessary. This generally involves removal of the spur or release of the plantar fascia, which is then followed by rest, possibly the use of splints, crutches and ice compression. At Walk Without Pain, we have a wide variety of treatments available, including shockwave therapy for heel spurs, which we find to be extremely effective. Book an appointment now so we can get treatment started without delay.
Heel Spur Prevention
If you’re in a group that’s particularly at risk of developing heel spurs, there are some things you can do to lessen the possibility:
- If you are overweight, lose weight to alleviate the pressure.
- Wear quality footwear that fits properly and provides appropriate cushioning to reduce inflammation and irritation.
- Padded socks can also help to prevent injuries.
- Have your gait analysed to see if orthotics will help.
- Have inserts fitted to provide arch support and a heel lift so stress in the plantar fascia is reduced.
We employ a number of highly qualified podiatrists who can provide a full examination, diagnose what’s wrong and prescribe effective heel spur treatment in Brsibane. Book an appointment now before the condition deteriorates and the pain gets any worse.