Are you suffering from Heel Spurs?
What are Heel Spurs?
Heel spurs are bony growths that occur on the underside of the heel bone (calcaneus). Often heel spurs and Plantar fasciitis are related, they are not the same. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia – the thick fibrous tissue that inserts into the heel bone, and helps form the arch of the foot- this is often very painful. Whereas heel spur is a hook of bone that has formed on the calcaneus, it is associated with plantar fasciitis, but is often not painful.
About 70% of people with plantar fasciitis have a heel spur that can be seen on an xray. However, many people without symptoms of pain can have a heel spur. I have spurs on my heel bones that a very large, but they do not cause me any pain!
The only way to properly diagnose a heel spur is with an xray. On an xray, the spur looks like a bony protrusion, and it can vary in size. Sometimes these spurs can fracture and can cause a lot of pain. We will often ask for an ultrasound to be done with the xray to eliminate any soft tissue problems with the plantar fascia. We do this so we can prescribe the correct treatment plan for you.
How do you treat heel spurs?
Treatment for heel spurs is almost identical to plantar fasciitis. So this will involve a combination of:
- Proper footwear
- Orthotic therapy
- Be patient, consistent and diligent with your treatment plan. Orthotics and stretching are effective sometimes over several months. Consider, that it has taken years for your heel spurs to develop
- Don’t walk barefoot when you are suffering from heel spurs. Wear supportive shoes, even around the house
- Taping or splinting the foot is sometimes effective, especially if you are to participate in sporting activities
- Overweight people are more prone to heel spurs. Lose weight to avoid heel spurs in the future or to help in your treatment