Heel spurs are pointed growths of bone that extend from the heel bone. The bony growths have no feeling, but they extend from the heel bone into the soft tissue surrounding the bottom of the foot, causing inflammation and pain. The pain is often noticeable with every step. Often the pain is most noticeable in the morning and may subside through the day. The common description of this pain is a sharp heel pain or a poking heel pain which is localized to the heel or just below the heel.
The pain can be severe and bruising may occur. Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis are commonly related and often the treatment of heel spurs involves addressing plantar fasciitis. A heel spur is a hook of bone that can form on the heel bone and is associated with plantar fasciitis. Approximately 70 percent of patients with plantar fasciitis have a heel spur, although patients with no symptoms whatsoever can also have heel spurs.
Pain is found to most commonly occur after prolonged periods of rest, when taking a step or when putting pressure on the heel. There are many treatment options for heel spurs, such as heel pads, arch supports, orthotic therapy and anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases, surgery is recommended.
Causes of Heel Spurs
These pointed growths of bone develop when the plantar fascia is excessively and repetitively pulled away from the heel bone. In many cases, a heel spur can develop along with plantar fasciitis, but can also occur by itself.
X-ray scans can usually reveal heel spurs. They appear as a bony growth with a hook shape that point towards the toes. These growths are often a result of repetitive injuries that cause this type of growth to occur. The injuries are often caused by an abnormal gait (walking pattern) or pronation. When your feet touch the ground in an abnormal fashion when walking or running the result is stress or damage to particular areas that cannot handle the extra strain. The plantar fasciia, tendon that runs along the bottom of the foot (see plantar fasciitis) cannot handle the strain and the development of calcium at the point where the plantar fasciia attached the heel will calcify and form a heel spur.
Treating Heel Spurs
Prescription orthotics are a common treatment for heel spurs and they are also highly effective in reducing the pain and discomfort of a heel spur. Stretching the tissue throughout the foot and calf can also help to reduce strain and promote healing the area. In most cases, heel spurs can be treated with simple methods. Depending on the severity of the pain and the degree of the bony growth surgery may be recommended. Surgery will remove the spur or to release tension on the plantar fascia to stop further damage.
Surgery for Heel Spurs may include:
- Release of the plantar fascia
- Removal of a spur
Learn how 3-D digital imaging of your feet will provide relief from heel spurs and help prevent future bout with pain from heel spurs, plantar fasciitis and other painful conditions. The Seattle Heel Pain Center utilizes the latest technology to craft exacting prescription orthotics for heel pain. Orthotics for Heel Spurs are the best conservative treatment that provide very quick relief from heel spurs.
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The Seattle Heel Pain Center is a division of Issaquah Foot & Ankle Specialists