A Brief Guide to Heel Spurs

Also known as calcaneal spurs or osteophytes, a heel spur is a calcium deposit which causes a bony bump on the underside of the heel bone. On an X-ray, a heel spur can extend forward by as much as a half-inch. Without visible X-ray evidence, the condition is sometimes known as "heel spur syndrome". Heel spurs can be painless or highly painful. They are associated with plantar fasciitis which is a pain in the bottom part of the foot. If not treated at the right time, they can grow to be a very complicated condition.

A Brief Guide to Heel Spurs

What are the Symptoms of Heel Spurs?

  • Initially, heel spurs do not show any sign of existence as the calcium deposits increase over time. Once they have reached a noticeable size, you might feel a bump on the heel which might be near 2 inches or more.

  • While some heel spurs are painless at the start of their formation, once they grow, they begin pushing into the padding of the heel and the muscles. This causes damage to both which in turn results in pain.

  • Inflammation is also a possible sign if the muscles have been damaged enough.

  • The pain is not because of the spur itself but because of the injuries caused by the spur to the soft tissues and muscles around it.

  • Many people describe the pain of heel spurs as a knife or pin sticking into the bottom of their heel.

  • Walking and running becomes a painful and excruciating experience for a person.

Causes of Heel Spurs

  • Plantar Fasciitis is one of the leading causes of the development of heel spurs. The injured arch of the leg makes the heel vulnerable to developing a spur. More than 60% of people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis have experience heel spurs.

  • Age is another common factor that causes heel spurs. People above the age of 40 may experience the weakening of bones and decrease of ligament elasticity which makes them vulnerable to this condition.

  • An improper or imbalanced gait can also be a reason for heel spurs. An imbalanced gait puts unequal pressure on the heel thus making it vulnerable to the condition.

  • Being overweight is associated with a number of leg problems as excessive and unequal pressure is exerted over the leg. The same goes for heels as excessive pressure on the heel can make it vulnerable to heel spurs.

  • Improper footwear is a major cause for most of the problems associated with feet. Tight shoes that restrict the breathing of the heel and its movement can be a factor of causing heel spurs.

A Brief Guide to Heel Spurs

Precautions and Remedies one should take to avoid Heel Spurs

  • One of the first precautions is to wear proper and size appropriate footwear so that the heel has space to move and breathe.

  • Exerting the feet should be avoided. If the feet have been in extensive activities throughout the day, then you can cool the muscles down by using an ice pack.

  • Avoid high-heeled shoes if you are prone to such conditions, as they might increase the chances of getting a heel spur

  • Regular exercise can help the muscles and the ligaments maintain their elasticity thus reducing the chances of heel spurs.

Treatment Options for Heel Spurs

There are two major kinds of treatments, surgical and non-surgical. Surgery is the last resort if all other non-surgical treatments fail to show any signs of treating the condition

Non-surgical treatment options like heel cups, cushions and pads are cost-effective, and the wide range of these products allows one to choose according to their preferred needs.

1. Heel Cups:

Heel Cups are designed to support to the heel. They are not a cure but a prevention to heel spurs. Their built makes them absorb all the force and stress thus reducing the strain on the heel and the arch of the foot.
 

A Brief Guide to Heel Spurs

2. Heel Cushions:

Heel cushions are padded supports for the heel. They can be used both for prevention as well as to alleviate the pain. Just like heel cups, they are also placed in the shoes.
 

A Brief Guide to Heel Spurs

3. Heel Pads:

Heel Pads and huggers are similar in function to braces. They cover the entire heel and support the arch of the foot. The reduce the pressure and strain on the heel thus relieving pressure.
 

A Brief Guide to Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are preventable as well as curable. With the right diagnoses and perfect treatment, it is possible to void the condition and cure heel spurs.

 

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