A heel spur is a bony protrusion on the underside of the calcaneus (heel bone). This bony protrusion can extend up to 1 cm in length in some cases. Heel spurs can cause considerable pain especially if you are on your feet for extended periods of time. They are often associated with a condition called plantar fasciitis which is an inflammation or degeneration of the connective tissue on the sole of the foot.
Heel spurs are most often caused by increased amounts of stress being place on the soft tissues that attach themselves to the underside of the calcaneus (heel bone).
Possible risk factors that increase your chance of developing heel spurs include:
- Overpronated or flat feet
- Walking and gait abnormalities that place increased stress on the surrounding soft tissues
- Poorly fitted and incorrect footwear
- Being overweight
- High impact exercise on hard surfaces
- Increasing age
- Having high arches or supinated foot type
Heel Spur Symptoms
Heel spurs can cause severe and chronic pain, especially whilst doing exercise. The pain is often described as a if the person has step on a knife and it is stabbing them in the heel or that the underside of the heel feels extremely bruised. Sometimes neurological symptoms such as numbness tingling and burning can occur as well.
Pain will most often be the worst when you first get out of bed in the morning and at the end of the day after being on your feet for an extended period of time. Pain can also be bad if you have been sitting for a while and go to stand up out of your chair.
Heel Spur Treatmentsel
Foot Orthotics are special inserts that go inside your shoes and can be used to offload and help relieve heel spurs.
Stretching exercises such as calf stretching can help relieve discomfort fromheel spurs. Stretches need to be held for approximately 30 seconds and repeated 3 times on each leg. The more often you do your stretching exercises the better results you may see.
Strapping and Tapping can be used to help offload heel spurs and support the surrounding soft tissues.
Correct Footwear can be crucial when trying to relieve heel spurs. Generally, a well fitted sport shoe can help relieve heel spur symptoms.
Surgical Treatements can be an option for people who don’t respond to conservative treatment. The heel spur can be removed or the plantar fascia can be released to help relieve pain.