A heel spur is a painful condition that is caused by the accumulation of excessive calcium under the heel of the foot. The heel bone is made up of a large structure called the calcaneus, which is
connected to the bottom of the foot by durable connective tissue called fascia. If the layers of connective tissue become damaged or begin to degenerate due to wear and tear, plantar fasciitis may
develop. This causes calcification, which refers to the abnormal buildup of calcium on the heel bone. As the calcium continues to accumulate, a calcified protrusion called a spur may become visible
on an X-ray.
Over-pronation (flat feet) is a common cause of heel spurs, but people with unusually high arches (pes cavus) can also develop heel spurs. Women have a significantly higher incidence of heel spurs
due to the types of footwear often worn on a regular basis.
The pain caused by a calcaneal spur is not the result of the pressure of weight on the point of the spur, but results from inflammation around the tendons where they attach to the heel bone. You
might expect the pain to increase as you walk on the spur, but actually it decreases. The pain is most severe when you start to walk after a rest. The nerves and capillaries adapt themselves to the
situation as you walk. When you rest, the nerves and capillaries rest, also. Then, as you begin to move about again, extreme demands are made on the blood vessels and nerves, which will cause pain
until they again adjust to the spur. If excessive strain has been placed on the foot the day before, the pain may also be greater. A sudden strain, as might be produced by leaping or jumping, can
also increase the pain. The pain might be localized at first, but continued walking and standing will soon cause the entire heel to become tender and painful.
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
Common and effective treatments for Heel Spurs include: Stretching exercises, changing to specific shoes, taping or strapping to rest stressed muscles and tendons, custom orthotic devices and
physiotherapy. There are many things you can do to treat heel spurs. You should stretch the muscles and ligaments around the area regularly and ensure you are wearing the right footwear for your
feet. There are also tapes and straps that you can apply to the muscles and tendons around the area. For more severe cases, custom orthotics may be the way to go along with aggressive physiotherapy.
To treat the pain, over the counter NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications) is recommended, but use with caution as prolonged use can lead to the development of ulcers. It is therefore best to apply a
topical treatment such as Zax?s Original Heelspur Cream, which contains natural ingredients proven to reduce pain and inflammation. More severe forms of the condition may require corticosteroid
injections or surgical procedures, but these are very rare cases. Still, should pain become worse and persist, you should consult with your doctor.
Heel spur surgery should only be considered after less invasive treatment methods have been explored and ruled insufficient. The traditional surgical approach to treating heel spurs requires a
scalpel cut to the bottom of the food which allows the surgeon to access the bone spur. Endoscopic plantar fasciotomies (EPF) involve one or two small incisions in the foot which allow the surgeon to
access and operate on the bone spur endoscopically. Taking a surgical approach to heel spur treatment is a topic to explore with a foot and ankle specialist.