The heel spur (or calcaneal spur) is a nail-like growth of calcium around the ligaments and tendons of the foot where they attach to the heel bone. The spur grows from the bone and into the flesh of
the foot. A heel spur results from an anatomical change of the calcaneus (heel bone). This involves the area of the heel and occasionally, another disability, such as arthritis. The heel bone forms
one end of the two longitudinal arches of the foot. These arches are held together by ligaments and are activated by the muscles of the foot (some of which are attached beneath the arches and run
from the front to the back of the foot). These muscles and ligaments, like the other supporting tissues of the body, are attached in two places. Many are attached at the heel bone. The body reacts to
the stress at the heel bone by calcifying the soft tissue attachments and creating a spur.
Bone spurs can occur all over the body including the spine, shoulders, hands, hips and feet. The feet are a common place to find them. A heel spur happens when the body tries to mend itself. Building
extra bone is one way your body tries to correct a weakness. Wearing shoes that are too tight in the heel can cause bone spurs. More women than men get heel spurs because of the kinds of shoes they
wear. Athletes who stress their feet and legs routinely are also prone to heel spurs. Being overweight can also indirectly cause heel spurs by over-exerting the plantar fascia. Some heel spurs are
caused by the aging process, in which the cartilage covering the ends of bones wears away. This process can lead to pain, swelling and spur formation. Stress-related problems with the plantar fascia
frequently lead to heel spurs.
Bone spurs may cause sudden, severe pain when putting weight on the affected foot. Individuals may try to walk on their toes or ball of the foot to avoid painful pressure on the heel spur. This
compensation during walking or running can cause additional problems in the ankle, knee, hip, or back.
Diagnosis of a heel spur can be done with an x-ray, which will be able to reveal the bony spur. Normally, it occurs where the plantar fascia connects to the heel bone. When the plantar fascia
ligament is pulled excessively it begins to pull away from the heel bone. When this excessive pulling occurs, it causes the body to respond by depositing calcium in the injured area, resulting in the
formation of the bone spur. The Plantar fascia ligament is a fibrous band of connective tissue running between the heel bone and the ball of the foot. This structure maintains the arch of the foot
and distributes weight along the foot as we walk. However, due to the stress that this ligament must endure, it can easily become damaged which commonly occurs along with heel spurs.
Non Surgical Treatment
Some heel spurs do require surgery, however surgery is a last resort. In most cases the patients underlying foot problem needs to be addressed, such as Over Pronation and Over Supination and Heel
Pain Treatment Options need to be implemented if Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis are still an ongoing concern. Your best treatment is always prevention.
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.