What Causes Bone Spurs In Heels? Its Symptoms And How To Treat It?

Spur in heel is a hook like projection that occurs on heel bone. It is also called as calcaneal spur. It is a small osteophyte located on calcaneus bone. Spur in heel can be found among any age group. Usually it is found in middle aged people.

When our foot is exposed to continuous stress, calcium deposits pile up on heel bone. This piling up of deposits creates spur deformity. Aged people, women using high heel shoes, obese people and flat footed people are more prone to develop calcaneal spur. Other risk factors are:

  • Abnormal gait – Walking with abnormal gait puts strain on plantar fascia, heel bones and ligaments.
  • Running on hard surface.
  • Wearing shoes that have poor fitting and poor arch support put more stress on ligaments and plantar fascia.
  •  People having high arched feet are likely to suffer from spur in heel.
  • Short burst of vigorous activity if done frequently can cause spur in heels.
  • Standing or walking for long time throughout day for long period of time can become predisposing factor.
  • Athletes are more prone to develop spurs in heel.

Calcaneal spur which is located on inferior surface of calcaneus bone is called inferior calcaneal spur. It develops due to chronic plantar fasciitis. Inferior calcaneal spur lies superior to plantar fascia at its insertion. In children inferior calcaneal spur is likely to be associated with ankylosing spondylitis.

Spur in heel that develops on the back of heel is called posterior calcaneal spur. It is located at the insertion of Achilles tendon. Sometimes it is large and can be palpated with hand.

Symptoms Of Spurs In The Heel

  • Pain while walking. Usually pain is severe when one starts walking after long hours of rest. Pain may lessen as you continue to walk. Dull aching pain may continue during walking.
  • Pain is of pricking character. Pain is due to soft tissue injury associated with spur.
  • Pain can be worse in morning when you walk after night’s sleep due to sudden stretching of plantar fascia which puts pulling stress on heel bones.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis is done on the basis of symptoms. X-ray will show calcaneal spur which will confirm the diagnosis.

How To Treat Spurs In Heels?

  • If patient is in distress, anti-inflammatory medicines are given to reduce inflammation and pain. In some cases steroid injections are given to relieve inflammation.
  • Patient is advised to wear properly fitting shoes. Shoes should be soft, well cushioned with good suspension. Shoes must have appropriate arch.
  • Functional orthotic devices help to correct pain caused due to bio-mechanical imbalance.
  • Simple stretching exercises can help to prevent plantar fasciitis. While lying down or sitting these exercises can be done. Flexion and extension of toes can be done ten times. Rotate your feet at ankle joint clockwise and anticlockwise ten times. Flexion and extension of feet using ankle joint should be done ten times. These simple exercises help to relax muscles and ligaments of feet.

Surgical treatment is given if other treatment fails to give relief.

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