A heel spur also known as a calcaneal spur, is a pointed bony outgrowth of the heel bone (calcaneus). Heel spurs do not always cause pain and often are discovered incidentally on X-rays taken for
other problems. Heel spurs can occur at the back of the heel and also under the heel bone on the sole of the foot, where they may be associated with the painful foot condition plantar
A strong band of sinew (plantar fascia) stretches across the sole of the foot below the surface of the skin and is attached to a point in the middle of the under surface of the heel bone. With
repeated activity on our feet, the plantar fascia can become tight and cause persistent traction (tugging) on its attachment point into the heel bone, and inflammation and pain may develop at this
site. This painful condition is known as plantar fasciitis. Sometimes a ?spur? develops at the site of this traction on the bone and protrudes into the surrounding tissue. This is a heel spur.
Pain and discomfort associated with heel spurs does not occur from the spur itself. The bone growth itself has no feeling. However, as you move, this growth digs into sensitive nerves and tissue
along the heel of the foot, resulting in severe pain. Pain can also be generated when pushing off with the toes while walking. Swelling along the heel is also common.
A Heel Spur diagnosis is made when an X-ray shows a hook of bone protruding from the bottom of the foot at the point where the plantar fascia is attached to the heel bone. The plantar fascia is the
thick, connective tissue that runs from the calcaneus (heel bone) to the ball of the foot. This strong and tight tissue helps maintain the arch of the foot. It is also one of the major transmitters
of weight across the foot as you walk or run. In other words, tremendous stress is placed on the plantar fascia.
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.
Surgery to correct for heel spur syndrome is a common procedure which releases plantar fascia partially from its attachment to the calcaneous (heel bone). This part of the surgery is called a plantar
fasciotomy due to the fact the fascia is cut. This is most often done through an open procedure as any heel spur or bursa can be removed at the same time. If the spur is not removed during the
surgery, it will probably be just as successful, as the large spur is not the true problem. Some physicians use an endoscopic approach (EPF) where a small camera aids the physician during surgery
with typically smaller incisions on each side of your foot.
Prevention of heel spur syndrome may be best by finding a good supportive shoe. Never go barefoot or wear a flat soled shoe. There are many over the counter arch supports that give increased support
for your feet. Usually when there is excessive pronation the Achilles Tendon contracts or becomes shortened over time since it is not being used fully. The shortened Achilles Tendon is called an
equinus deformity. By keeping this tendon stretched it may decrease some of the tension in the foot. Some theories believe the Achilles Tendon and plantar fascia is continuous. Before you get up from
rest, stretch out your Achilles and the plantar fascia. You may attempt to spell the alphabet with your foot and ankle, use a towel against pressure on your foot, or roll a can of soup or sodapop on
the ground. Ice may work well at the times of severe pain. For a chronic pain, or longer lasting pain heat therapy may improve the condition.