Bone spurs including heel spurs occur as a natural response of the body to wear and tear. Heel spur in particular, can cause pain when it rubs against soft tissues including the Achilles tendon. When
that happens movement can become restricted. Spurs can also appear in other joint areas such as under the toenail where it would lead to pain and nail deformation.
Heel spurs are bony outgrowths positioned where the plantar fascia tissue attaches to the heel bone (the calcaneus). Heel spurs seldom cause pain. It is the inflamed tissue surrounding the spur that
causes the pain. The Latin meaning of Plantar Fasciitis is, ?Inflammation of Plantar Fascia.? The plantar fascia is a long, thick and very tough band of tissue beneath your foot that provides arch
support. It also connects your toes to your heel bone. Each time you take a step, the arch slightly flattens to absorb impact. This band of tissue is normally quite strong and flexible but
unfortunately, circumstances such as undue stress, being overweight, getting older or having irregularities in your foot dynamics can lead to unnatural stretching and micro-tearing of the plantar
fascia. This causes pain and swelling at the location where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone. As the fascia continually pulls at the heel bone, the constant irritation eventually creates
a bony growth on the heel. This is called a heel spur.
Heel spur and plantar fasciitis pain usually begins in the bottom of the heel, and frequently radiates into the arch. At times, however, the pain may be felt only in the arch. The pain is most
intense when first standing, after any period of rest. Most people with this problem experience their greatest pain in the morning, with the first few steps after sleeping. After several minutes of
walking, the pain usually becomes less intense and may disappear completely, only to return later with prolonged walking or standing. If a nerve is irritated due to the swollen plantar fascia, this
pain may radiate into the ankle. In the early stages of Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis, the pain will usually subside quickly with getting off of the foot and resting. As the disease progresses, it
may take longer periods of time for the pain to subside.
Diagnosis is made using a few different technologies. X-rays are often used first to ensure there is no fracture or tumor in the region. Then ultrasound is used to check the fascia itself to make
sure there is no tear and check the level of scar tissue and damage. Neurosensory testing, a non-painful nerve test, can be used to make sure there is not a local nerve problem if the pain is thought
to be nerve related. It is important to remember that one can have a very large heel spur and no plantar fasciitis issues or pain at all, or one can have a great deal of pain and virtually no spur at
Non Surgical Treatment
A conventional treatment for a heel spur is a steroid injection. This treatment, however, isn?t always effective because of the many structures in the heel, making it a difficult place for an
injection. If this treatment goes wrong, it can make the original symptoms even worse. Another interesting means of treatment is Cryoultrasound, an innovative electromedical device that utilizes the
combination of two therapeutic techniques: cryotherapy and ultrasound therapy. Treatments with Cryoultrasound accelerate the healing process by interrupting the cycle and pain and spasms. This form
of therapy increases blood circulation and cell metabolism; it stimulates toxin elimination and is supposed to speed up recovery.
Most studies indicate that 95% of those afflicted with heel spurs are able to relieve their heel pain with nonsurgical treatments. If you are one of the few people whose symptoms don?t improve with
other treatments, your doctor may recommend plantar fascia release surgery. Plantar fascia release involves cutting part of the plantar fascia ligament in order to release the tension and relieve the
inflammation of the ligament. Sometimes the bone spur is also removed, if there is a large spur (remember that the bone spur is rarely a cause of pain. Overall, the success rate of surgical release
is 70 to 90 percent in patients with heel spurs. One should always be sure to understand all the risks associated with any surgery they are considering.
o help prevent heel and bone spurs, wear properly designed and fitted shoes or boots that provide sufficient room in the toe box so as not to compress the toes. They should also provide cushioning in
appropriate areas to minimize the possibility of the irritation and inflammation that can lead to bone spurs in the feet. If needed, use inserts that provide arch support and a slight heel lift to
help ensure that not too much stress is placed on the plantar fascia. This helps to reduce the possibility of inflammation and overstress. Wearing padded socks can also help by reducing trauma.
Peer-reviewed, published studies have shown that wearing clinically-tested padded socks can help protect against injuries to the skin/soft tissue of the foot due to the effects of impact, pressure
and shear forces. Also consider getting your gait analyzed by a foot health professional for appropriate orthotics. If you have heel pain, toe pain or top-of-the-foot pain, see your doctor or foot
specialist to ensure that a spur has not developed.